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Funding Cuts Endanger California Prescription Drug Monitoring Database


California’s prescription drug monitoring database may become useless if proposed budget cuts go through, according to the Associated Press.

The staff overseeing the system recently has been cut from eight people to two, and no one will be left to run it in January unless funding is restored, the article states. The database would become useless, because there would be no one to update prescription information in the system.

Since, 2009, more than 8,000 physicians and pharmacists have signed up to use the database. It has been used in criminal investigations, and has helped officials determine if patients or doctors are involved in prescription drug abuse, the AP notes.

More than 100 million prescriptions have been entered in the database, and it is updated with four to six million new prescriptions per month. The system has been used more than one million times for patient activity reports.

The yearly cost of running the database is less than $1 million, according to the article.

4 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of McKenzie Knight
    McKenzie Knight / July 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    When I click on the COMMENT POLICY AND GUIDELINES link–it does not respond??

  2. Jeff / November 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I think the demise of these databases is a very good thing. They should never have been put in place to begin with. Their effectiveness is questionable at best and also an extreme violation of patient confidentiality. The goal is laudable, the method is not. Any doctor or any pharmacist anywhere has complete access to patient records even though the patient has never given specific permission to those people. When you add in that any law enforcement and most state agencies can and do access the data at their whim the privacy breeches are enormous. The enacting of these databases gutted privacy protections for every patient and I for one would be ecstatic to see them die with a whimper.

  3. Avatar of Joe
    Joe / November 19, 2011 at 2:43 am

    “Any doctor or any pharmacist anywhere has complete access to patient records even though the patient has never given specific permission to those people.” REALLY! just how are the complete access to patient records shared with Doctors and Pharmacist anywhere?

  4. Jeff / November 21, 2011 at 11:51 am

    HI Joe,
    Every participating medical person has access to my Rx information. In almost every circumstance this allows for an approximate diagnosis. This is beside the fact that the data releasing is not limited to only medical professionals. The data, once captured, can be and is, released at the whim of lawmakers, rules coordinators, etc., with little to no public oversight. There is no provision to destroy data after a given period of time, nor is there an opportunity to opt out or for a citizen to correct mistaken data (or even to view what is captured about them). These data are simply another way to 1)track innocent people; 2)for data mining and research organizations to access and to profit from; and 3)a shady way to make the public feel good that lawmakers are really trying to tackle the problem of Rx abuse.

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