By Amy Alkon
shared this story
from Advice Goddess Blog.
The War On Privacy: The DEA Wants Access To Your Medical Records
Radley Balko blogs at the WaPo about the DEA’s attempt to use warrantless “administrative subpoenas” to access information on patients from the prescription drug monitoring database. Such databases, are supposed to protect people. As Balko writes:
The thinking is that by creating databases of patients taking controlled substances, we’ll be able to catch drug-dealing doctors and intervene on behalf of drug addicted patients.
It’s easy to imagine how this could be abused, how patient data could get into the wrong hands. Imagine a law enforcement officer looking for ammunition in a divorce or custody dispute. Or perhaps a politician who takes the wrong position on police pensions or police accountability might see his painkiller scripts leaked to the press.
…But Moffat also touches on another, less obvious problem–the chilling effect this will have on doctors. For example, one of the red flags federal investigators look for when looking for doctors to accuse of “drug dealing” is the overall number of prescriptions a given doctor writes for various controlled drugs. That means that as he’s deciding your course of treatment, or whether to prescribe opioids to improve your mother’s quality of life as she’s dying from terminal cancer, he’ll be thinking about how many scripts for those drugs he may have already written for other patients. It’s an intrusion on the doctor-patient relationship, and could influence a doctor’s decisions about a patient’s treatment with factors that have nothing to do what’s best for that particular patient.