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Arizona Data Base for Physicians and Pharmacists to locate the “Doctor Shopping Patients”

Posted Feb 11 2009 3:49pm

So far there seems to be quite a bit of interest in the data base, open to pharmacists and doctors only.  One physician stated he had found one patient who had seen 23 doctors and 18 pharmacies seeking controlled painkillers over an 8 month time frame.

Interesting, is that law enforcement does not have to be notified, in other words it is operating somewhat like a “We Tip” type of service.  A patient can submit a request to view their records though if need be by writing a letter so get a copy of what is on file, that is if they need it, as a precaution as mistakes could be made with cross referencing a name for example, but most of the Doctor Shopping patients and their medications are pretty much know themselves I would guess.  The data base lists drug listed on Schedules II, III or IV of the federal Controlled Substances Act and not other medications that are not under the controlled substance act.  BD

The program, which debuted in December and is overseen by the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, is designed to cut down on the persistent problem of prescription-drug abuse. But it also has raised concerns among privacy-rights groups that fear computer hackers or unscrupulous health workers will access patients' personal information.

The system, they say, allows physicians and pharmacists to more easily identify "doctor shoppers," people who visit various doctors to obtain drugs that are potentially addictive.

When any Arizona pharmacy or doctor who dispenses medication fills an order for a drug listed on Schedules II, III or IV of the federal Controlled Substances Act, the details are forwarded to the outside contractor that maintains the database and are entered within a week or two. The data include the patient's name, date of birth, prescribing doctor, medication, the date the prescription was filled and the mailing addresses of the pharmacy and patient.

The drugs on the lists include potentially addictive painkillers, sleep aids, medications that contain morphine or certain forms of codeine, and hormone drugs, including steroids.

Doctors and pharmacists must register to access the database. They then can type in the name of a patient requesting a medication to see whether the person had other similar prescriptions filled and when.

Users of prescription drugs being tracked in Arizona

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