Florida ACLU Criticizes Government for Releasing Patient Prescription Drug Records

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida this week criticized state and local officials for releasing thousands of prescription drug records. The group asked to see documents related to the data release.

Approximately 3,330 prescription records were released and provided to defense attorneys handling cases that arose from a prescription fraud investigation, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. Attorney Michael Lambert learned his records were among those released, and claimed his privacy was invaded by prosecutors. He hired two attorneys to file an injunction to stop State Attorney R.J. Larizza from reviewing or disclosing the records. Lambert also asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the matter.

The records came from the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which was designed to cut down on “doctor shopping” by patients seeking to obtain multiple painkiller prescriptions.

“We want to know how this monumental breach of security and confidentiality occurred, and how a state-mandated database could apparently be so misused that it led to the widespread distribution of intimate medical information unconnected to any ongoing investigation,” said Maria Kayanan, Associate Legal Director for the ACLU of Florida.

Larizza said the prescription records were provided to the defense attorneys as part of the legal discovery process, the article notes. He added his office’s review of the database was “legitimate investigative work.” His office has retrieved the disks with the prescription information from the defense attorneys, according to the newspaper.

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