An Arizona city proposal would treat all patients like potential criminals

Sonu Munshi reports:

Peoria could become the first Arizona city to require fingerprinting at pharmacies when picking up prescriptions for commonly abused drugs in an effort to curb an escalating number of fraud cases.

Peoria law-enforcement officials this month proposed an ordinance that would require anyone filling prescriptions for drugs such as OxyContin and Percocet to show ID and be fingerprinted at the pharmacy counter, including anyone picking up a prescription for a family member or friend.

The notion of tracking people’s use of prescription or over-the-counter medications raises significant medical privacy and legal concerns, as I blogged about most recently in Octoboer (here and here). The public needs to expect that if this type of monitoring and recording is legalized, the data will be shared and not just on a local or state level for criminal purposes. The data will inevitably be linked to part of a national database that itself can be linked to another national databases. As a recent Washington Post piece on “Monitoring America” highlights, government surveillance may leave us with essentially no privacy at all.

As Munshi reports:

Peoria’s proposal would tie law enforcement into the equation.

States such as New York, Nevada and Texas similarly require ID when purchasing commonly abused prescriptions.

None has gone as far as requiring fingerprints.

Delray Beach in Florida considered it, although no such law passed there.

Peoria’s proposal stems from what officials say is an escalating local and national concern.

There’s always some “justification,” but of course, once they have the data, it’s never destroyed and we may not even know whether there are inaccuracies in our records held by government that could come back to harm us in oh, so many ways.  And even if the data are accurate, they can still harm us in oh, so many ways.

Do you really want countless state, local, and federal law enforcement employees and others having access to your records of what prescriptions you filled and when?

Read more in the Arizona Republic.

Trampling on the medical privacy of the many to deal with possible criminal behavior by the few does not strike me as either warranted or acceptable. But by the time most people wake up and fully grasp the extent to which their medical privacy is under assault, it may be too late for the rest of us.

H/T, LossofPrivacy, who shares my concerns.

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