Legislation to expand Pennsylvania’s program for tracking prescription drugs in the commonwealth just got a little more complicated.
The commonwealth is an outlier among neighboring states – it monitors prescriptions most prone to abuse but turns a blind eye to other categories of drugs.
A proposal to expand the dragnet is on the legislative fast-track, to the dismay of civil libertarians, who say it violates patient privacy.
They had a coup when state lawmakers passed an amendment requiring law enforcement to get a search warrant before combing the database. Democratic Representative Dan Miller of Allegheny County Miller authored the change.
“I do not think that asking for law enforcement, when it comes to reviewing someone’s prescription history, to get a warrant, is that big of a hurdle,” he said.
According to the Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs, 48 states and one territory have such programs — and only a few require law enforcement to get a search warrant or court order before accessing them.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society, which has pushed for the expanded program, doesn’t have a problem with the search warrant requirement. It’s unclear whether the change will stick if the bill heads to the Senate.