More on Peoria law enforcement's request to fingerprint people picking up prescriptions

Jamie Ross of Courthouse News had some coverage today of the proposal by Peoria, Arizona police to require that citizens be fingerprinted at pharmacies for certain prescriptions. I had blogged about their proposal last month as being a serious privacy invasion of the majority to prevent abuse of certain medications by the minority.  The law would also require family members picking up prescriptions for a patient to be fingerprinted.  Today, Ross reports:

The Peoria Police Department asked the City Council to enact a law requiring pharmacists to take customers’ fingerprints before filling prescriptions. Police in this Phoenix suburb of 163,000 say such a law would help prevent forged prescriptions for Oxycontin and other narcotics.

At a City Council study session on Dec. 7, 2010, Peoria’s Police Department suggested the city implement a new drug code to help deter forged prescriptions for OxyContin and other schedule I and schedule II drugs. Police said the city had been “inundated” with fraudulent prescriptions.

ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Daniel Pochoda commented that the proposal, “ignores the rights and well-being of patients and the responsibilities of medical providers and pharmacists.”

The ACLU said it is concerned because the proposed law is not limited to people suspected of fraud, and most people who will be fingerprinted will not be subjects of a criminal prosecution.

Precisely. And after Peoria gets done treating people like criminals by fingerprinting them, what happens to the fingerprints of Aunt Suzie who just stopped in to pick up her sick nephew’s prescription? Will her fingerprints be retained, and if so, for how long? And will they be run against criminal databases and other databases?

No, I don’t like this proposal at all, as is.

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2 comments to “More on Peoria law enforcement's request to fingerprint people picking up prescriptions”

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  1. Anonymous - January 28, 2011

    Are pharmacies not connected to doctors electronically? Here in Australia alarm bells would go off if the doctor’s computer generated prescription didn’t have a matching record in the Medicare computer when the pharmacist filled the prescription.

    Things like pseudoephedrine generally require some photo ID and the pharmacies keep track of how many people have been sold to prevent home-bake buyups.

    Perhaps this works because most drugs are subsidised by the government and as a funding agency they can coordinate doctors and pharmacists?

    • Anonymous - January 28, 2011

      The system is different here, Dave. Doctors can call in some prescriptions while for other prescriptions (controlled substances), patients have to a paper in hand that is signed by the doctor to hand to the pharmacist. Not every patient here is on Medicare, either. So if a patient with private health insurance walks in with a ‘script for medicine, the pharmacist would enter it with the insurance co’s code and the patients’ Rx insurance policy number to get authorization from the insurance company so that they get paid. But the insurance co. wouldn’t know if the ‘script was forged on a real doctor’s prescription pad with a real DEA number, etc.

      Pseudoephedrine is one of the over-the-counter (no prescription required) substances that law enforcement wants to monitor and a lot of states have passed laws to do so. Congress even considered passing a bill that would make pseudoephedrine prescription-only. Right now, it doesn’t require a prescription.

      But this Peoria situation is about substances that already do require a prescription and it would impose a surveillance system on people that goes far beyond just providing photo ID to pick up your medication.

      Clear as mud? 🙂

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