Was Gov. Rick Scott right to worry about prescription drug database?by Dara Kam | June 11th, 2013
It took some convincing, but proponents of Florida’s prescription drug database, including Attorney General Pam Bondi, finally persuaded Gov. Rick Scott to sign off on the program that contains Rx information for narcotics and other addictive drugs.
Scott balked because he didn’t trust that the database couldn’t be hacked or that individuals’ prescription drug info could be erroneously made public.
Now, the ACLU of Florida, which has taken Scott to court over a variety of his policies, is saying that’s exactly what’s happened, and that the drug records of 3,300 individuals has landed in the wrong hands.
The ACLU claims that the prescription drug records of 3,300 individuals were given to prosecutors and defense attorneys in six criminal cases in Volusia County.
“Somehow information that is supposed to remain private and confidential and be safely maintained in this unfortunate database made its way into third parties who have no right to it,” said ACLU of Florida attorney Maria Kayanan.
The civil rights organization is seeking more information about how the patients’ prescriptions, birthdates, addresses was made public during the court cases.
The database was created in 2009 but wasn’t up and running until 2011. Lawmakers this year agreed to allow state money to be used to fund the database, pushed by President Obama’s drug czar and others as way to help fight prescription drug abuse by preventing “doctor shopping.”
The ACLU has issued a public records request to the Florida Department of Health and to the Seminole County Sheriff’s office in search of records relating to requests made by local or federal law enforcement agencies to the Electronic Florida On-Line Registry of Controlled Substances Evaluation (E-FORSCE) database.
“It certainly looks like there were multiple breaches at multiple places. Some of them may have been unintentional. We don’t know. But the bottom line is this is so very wrong,” Kayanan said.