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Release of prescription drug database records raises privacy concerns

Criticism is mounting over Florida's fledgling prescription drug database since the medication history for 3,300 people was released as part of a prescription fraud investigation in Volusia County.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported this month that the records were given to federal and state agencies as part of this investigation, and eventually fell in the hands of five defense attorneys connected to the case. One man whose records were among those released has filed suit and is trying to keep the 3,300 records private.

The drug monitoring database launched in 2011 and is intended to combat abuse by monitoring how often doctors and individuals are turning in prescriptions for pain killers, anxiety medication and other commonly abused prescription drugs.

Today, state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, fired off a letter to Surgeon General John Armstrong demanding answers about the Volusia case. 

"While I acknowledge that Florida law permits the release of records involved in an active investigation, I am concerned about this release of private health records and the precedent that it may establish," Brandes wrote. "Therefore I ask the Department to also provide to the Legislature any plans or policies that ensure such a release of private records does not happen without proper cause and without attention to preserving the privacy rights of patients."

The man who filed the initial suit to stop the records from being released has asked Gov. Rick Scott to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Volusia's state attorney and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, the News-Journal reported.

"This is an active case before the Court. The Court will determine if the investigation was handled appropriately," Scott spokesman John Tupp wrote in an email response to the paper.

Earlier this week, the ACLU filed a public records request in hopes of determining who gave the 3,300 records to defense attorneys and why.

Download Brandes PDMP Letter

Read more from the News-Journal.

Comments

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Jim P.

We begged not to start this database but every bleeding heart liberal and every single media elite who knew than every other single person in the world wanted it. Pam Bondi wanted it. Rick Scott did not want it. He was quite aware what would happen. However, like just about every single other principle he abandond this one and signed it anyway.

Now you act like the concerns over privacy is new? Seriously, how dare you act like your hands are clean. You shamed this Governor into signing that bill and he actually thought someone would like him because of it. You wrote editorials from Orlando to Miami, from Tampa to Tallahassee and you are all to blame.

I do like John Morgan's ad when he asks, "What if it was you? What if it was your loved one?"

Well?

Bad release

I want to join the lawsuit...

I still don't know the scope of the released information.

Manny Shargel

@Jim P. Hey, I'm a bleeding heart liberal and I believe we have a constitutional right to privacy. How can you blame liberals in Florida when we have a Teapublican Governor and Republican State House and Senate? Sheep in wolves clothing, huh?

Bill J.

Jim P. Go back and research the news reports before the bill was signed into law. Every liberal paper and just about every extremist Democrat was pressuring Scott to sign the bill. Conservatives did not want this. That is the fact. Pam Bondi was wrong to support this and now our wildest fears have come true.

Oh and do not disrespect the Tea Party by lumping them in with the Republitards.

Redundant

The DEA trumps all you finger pointing party pimps. They will take everything you own and your freedom under the guise of a 'War On Drugs.' Be afraid.

wayne

Nothing new on illegal drugs coming into the state.. How about the privacy of the illegal drug dealers? Sure, in the beginning it was getting it under control but this is not something we want. IT seems the beginning of the government involvement in your medical decisions. What will be next.. State is punishing the legal citizens? Cant drive too fast of you get fine. Drive too slow you get a fine. Soon they will be giving everyone a fine for something. Can we give the state some more ways to fine us.. Not talking about jobs. Nothing on Florida growth plans. Nothing on bringing companies here from lowering taxes.

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