AUGUSTA – A proposal
that would require all dispensers of prescription drugs to enter the private
information of any patient in Maine into a state run database is drawing fire
from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons as an “egregious
violation of patients’ privacy” and a “massive overreach of government.”
The bill, sponsored by Democratic
State Rep. Patricia Hymanson of York would require any dispenser of
prescription drugs in Maine “to report
all prescription drugs dispensed
intended for human consumption” and to create a system through which “pharmacists
and all prescribers” could “obtain complete
record of all medication prescribed to a patient, identifying the prescriber
for each drug and listing the dates on which each
prescription was filled.”
The AAPS, in
a bulletin to their membership, called the proposal an egregious
violation of the privacy of patients and a massive overreach of government. They
also say that the purported goal of the bill, to improve patient safety, should
be accomplished “without violating the rights of the
citizens of Maine.”
The bill essentially would convert the state’s current system that monitors prescriptions classified as controlled substances into a full-scale monitoring system for any prescriptions filled in the state of Maine.
The purported goal of the proposal is to reduce instances of adverse drug reactions due to incompatible drug reactions or overprescribing of medications.
abound in the proposal. The idea of anyone working in a pharmacy or health care
office across the state being able to access the full prescription record of any
Mainer who has filled a prescription appeared to cause the AAPS bulletin to go
viral this week. News of the bill comes at a time when medical freedom and
privacy are a hot, and sensitive topic.
Along with prescription
history of Maine patients, other data that would be available in the database
includes the patient name, address, identification number, date of birth,
dosage, history, and several drug specific records and identifiers.
Because some prescriptions are for medicines that treat a specific condition, allowing full access to such a broad set of data in a state database is tantamount to logging private information about specific patient medical conditions into a state database accessible outside the specific provider(s) a patient sees.
Rep. Patty Hymanson,
who is the primary sponsor of the bill, is probably best known for her
successful sponsorship of Maine’s controversial physician assisted suicide or “Death
with Dignity” bill, which narrowly became law last year.
The non-profit Maine People Before Politics also issued an alert on L.D. 2117, warning that a “long list of people would be able to access your private prescription information.” MPBP calls the bill a “wasteful, unnecessary expansion of state government and a MASSIVE invasion of personal and medical privacy.”