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Proposed Monitoring System Would Track Prescription Narcotics

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

Kaiser Permanente has agreed to partially underwrite a study of a proposed statewide on-line prescription drug monitoring system. The program would allow doctors and law enforcement agencies to track prescriptions for narcotics. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

California law requires doctors who prescribe narcotics to file monthly reports with the state. Justice department officials use the data to check for abuses, and doctors can use it to look up information on patients. But the record searches take time.

Supporters say an electronic reporting system would allow real-time monitoring.    

Beth Givens directs San Diego’s Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. She has some security concerns.

Givens: We read of very significant security breaches occurring every day, involving very sensitive personal information. The information in this data base, is about as sensitive as it can get.

Thirty-three states have a prescription-monitoring system. Supporters say the programs help reduce prescription drug abuse. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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