Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So long doctor-patient privilege (guest post by Uranus)

Last week I was surprised to learn that when a pharmacy in my state dispenses a scheduled drug, they are required to report the patient's social security number and driver's license number to a state board under a new program subsidized by federal funds called PMP. The stated purpose is to fight prescription fraud. Aside from revealing the most intimate details of the doctor-patient relationship, what else is happening? That information becomes part of a federal offender database, much like the information a person divulges in this state and others when purchasing ephedrine, a legal, safe, over-the-counter medication. Is this information available to prospective employers and insurance companies? I wonder about that because I wasn't aware an epidemic of prescription fraud was a big problem in this state or the nation, and I disagree that this information's worth to law enforcement justifies discarding the precious right of privacy with a doctor. We've turned yet another corner in our GOP-gestapo surveillance nation.


LeeB said...


I am so SICK of those people!! I want them out NOW!! This spying on law abiding citizens and concealing the fact they are doing so, is on the same level as the crap they pull over foreign mal-adventures. Bastards!

[T]he Reagan people were using this phrase, ‘perception management.’ They understood that if you could manage the perceptions of the American people through the information they got, making sure it was only your side of the story and that the facts from the ground were filtered out, then they could control the American population. They did not want to see Vietnam again. If they had to do foreign policy interventions, they didn’t want the American people to become an obstacle to them.” -- Investigative Journalist, Robert Parry

«—U®Anu§—» said...

This one really pisses me off. It's a BIG departure from the past. I was discussing it with a pharmacist, and even she didn't know the details, just that it was a new law and a monthly newsletter told them they had to do it. She gave me the name of the state agency, and I looked it up on their website. I haven't researched it further, but if you clicked the link you see the website obscures the fact of disclosure of social security and drivers license numbers by patients. Penalizing people engaging in legal drug trade has been a time-honored GOP tactic.

It occurred to me the real reason Bush wants to return to space may be so he can set up secret prisons on the moon to sequester law-abiding citizens, such as those who are prescribed scheduled drugs. Yes, it's a silly idea, but it's just the kind of oppression republicans adore.

I haven't gone in search of the federal statute(s), but I'm very interested in just whose interests are being served by this program. Want to bet it isn't doctors and pharmacists?

LeeB said...

It appears the alleged legitimate need to limit the amount of pseudoephedrine one can purchase at any one time (because it is the base ingredient of methamphetamine) is just a cover for more intrusion. I've always figured that rule - imposed within the past couple of years here in Washington - is goofy because if you are hellbent on acquiring enough of the stuff to run yer friendly meth lab, all you need do is go to multiple stores to stock up. The way the pharmacy explained that to me was they were just following orders and they knew it would barely slow down the bad guys. I ran into it when I wanted to buy a bottle of NyQuil and a package of DayQuil at the same time and the bundled packages exceeded the limit. So I picked the store-brand version of daytime capsules and went out into the other part of the same store to buy the NyQuil. THAT is how idiotic it was.

These damned thugs need to be locked up. The are good for absolutely nothing. They are lousy defenders of the country; they are ridiculous when it comes to maintaining infrastructure; they are good at absolutely NOTHING but corruption and that . . . well, heck, we must give credit where credit is due . . . who else can use military transport planes to rip off 323 tons of shrink-wrapped $100 bills, testify to doing so before Congress, then ask, "what's the big deal?!"

As to whose interests are being served, don't forget that Wayne Madesen is tracking all the thefts of personal data that he's tracking in his li'l ol' data base.

LeeB said...

Madsen. (Grrr) NOT Madesen.

LeeB said...

I give up. When sufficiently pissed off, my proofing eyes don't see nuttin' " . . . is tracking all the thefts of personal data that he's tracking . . ." ????

Please don't tell anyone.

calipendence said...

I saw a woman giving a talk about RFID technology half way through the INN report on Free Speech TV over the weekend, and am downright scared about what's coming down the pike as far as privacy. She made the point that once that technology is fully in place on all the various productions you buy and touch and readers are planted in so many places in our lives, what you just described will be tame by comparison.

An example was that you could get an automatic littering fine if the garbage man let loose a coke can you bought roll down the street instead of taking it with him, or get charged with a crime if someone stole a coke can from your garbage and planted it on a crime scene. They could give you automatic speeding tickets too, if you are found to have driven on a highway too quickly between two separate points where they have readers on entrance and exit ramps. We need to find a way to stop this RFID inflitration right now! You won't even be able to escape by using cash instead of credit to hide your purchases either, as they'll have RFID chips in cash and readers in cash registers where you spend the money, etc.

LeeB said...

I'll bet Orwell has a migraine over this crap. It ain't like we weren't warned. |-(

Dick Durata said...

Oh come on, this is a bipartisan effort if I know my Amurrica. Clinton gave everything that the law-enforcement thugs asked for, and then he gave more.

LeeB said...

So, Dick, what are you saying . . . that upon learning about another outrage, we should just be quiet? The efforts to undermine the middle class and turn the country into a police state began - with stealth - during the Reagan administration. Now that those efforts are bubbling to the surface - or being blatantly imposed in broad daylight - where they are getting noticed means NOW we know about it. NOW is when we have to take our country back. That isn't a partisan issue. Frankly, I don't know any individual progressives who say it's okay if a Dem does it. The election of 2006 was the first whack at these people. We know who are DINOs. Many of them may find challengers opposing them in the 2008 primaries if this next year doesn't show some appropriate changes in performance.

All of this comes down to one thing: Apathy Sucks! We cannot afford to go about our business and simply trust government to do its job - that's a big part of how this mess was allowed to grow to such proportions. The electeds need to know we're watching everything they do and that there will be a price to be paid at the polls if they forget who their constituents are.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Dick's point is fair. I assumed this program was republican based, and in my state it is, in that this statute was passed by a GOP-majority legislature. It's also typical of the "full spectrum awareness" being shoved down our throats as a governmental essential somewhat exclusively by neoconmen and women. The fact is, I don't know how or where the program originates. If you looked at the state website, you read that PMP was brought about by a "federal grant." Anyone can apply for a federal grant. They certainly don't divulge the name or mission of the grant, and that strikes me as very mysterious. I'm curious about it, and I'll keep looking for the lowdown. Whoever created it has no big urge to be famous.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

63 OS §2-309D explains this information is "confidential," then goes on to say these records are available to officers of the state bureau of narcotics, DEA, the state medical examiner, the board of dentistry, the board of pharmacy, the state licensure board, the state board of osteopathic examiners, the state board of veterinary examiners (just for fun I suppose), multicounty grand juries and most anyone in law enforcement who represents an interest in a criminal investigation. The section also states that divulging information is a misdemeanor and grounds for possible termination, and says pharmacists are immune from civil liability for what they do or don't do with the database.

Not what I'd call tight security. It also occurs to me that states have had no problem making cases against prescription fraud before this program came into being. Most any pharmacist can spot it a mile away. And, if shopping for doctors is now a crime, a good many of us are destined to pull some jail time, because there are lots of poor doctors in the world.

lukery said...

good posts / comments.

calipendence - we already have automatic speeding fines here - its not between two points, the cameras simply take a speed reading at a single point and a photograph of your license plate. we tend not to see it as a problem here (unless you are the one who gets fined)