Prescription tracking creates privacy threat (editorial)


The push for monitoring is coming not just from doctors and public health officials but the attorney general’s office. And it would likely be a useful tool. But it’s easy to imagine a time when lobbyists could convince lawmakers that the drug problem has become severe enough to grant law enforcement agencies unfettered access to everyone’s prescription history without a warrant. Then, agents would view the private medical information of hordes of innocent people in hopes of nabbing a small number of abusers.

Even more troubling is the thought that computer hackers or bribed employees could obtain the records and sell them. The information would be very valuable to pharmaceutical companies, and to insurers and employers who want to avoid both abusers and people in need of expensive health care.

Banks, major retail chains, communications systems and federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, FEMA, the nation’s nuclear laboratories, companies working for the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA and the FBI have all been breached with some degree of success by hackers or had information stolen or lost.

Privacy concerns have trumped the potential value of establishing a prescription monitoring program three times in the past.

Source – Concord Monitor

Not enough has changed to recommend that lawmakers change course.

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