Missouri Fights Prescription Database

July 25, 2014

Of the 50 states, Missouri is the only one without a prescription drug database, explains Elizabeth Nolan Brown for Reason.com.

States use drug databases to track medications and prescriptions in order to identify individuals who are acquiring painkillers and other addictive drugs as well as the doctors who prescribe them.

And while the databases have been marketed as tools to combat drug abuse and trafficking, most states require that doctors and pharmacists report all sorts of prescriptions, including anti-anxiety drugs. Physicians seeking to prescribe new medication can consult these databases. Sometimes, consulting the database is required.

Missouri is facing pressure from medical groups, the White House and drug makers to create one of these databases, but a group of Missouri lawmakers are standing against the push, citing privacy concerns. Not all lawmakers are opposed to the database, however.

These registries could be abused, writes Brown. Virginia's prescription drug database was hacked in 2009, and more than 8 million patients had their drug records stolen. The hackers held the information for a $10 million ransom, threatening to sell it on the black market .

Moreover, a prescription drug monitoring system could produce a chilling effect, frightening doctors and causing them to withhold medication that they would otherwise prescribe.

Source: Elizabeth Nolan Brown, "Missouri Is the Only State Not Tracking People's Prescriptions," Reason.com, July 21, 2014.

 

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