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DEA Argues Oregonians Have No Protected Privacy Interest In Prescription Records

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the we-see-you're-taking-terrorism-pills dept.

Medicine 455

schwit1 writes "Like emails and documents stored in the cloud, your prescription medical records may have a tenuous right to privacy. In response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the privacy of certain medical records, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is arguing (ACLU response) that citizens whose medical records are handed over to a pharmacy — or any other third-party — have 'no expectation of privacy' for that information." Oregon mandates that pharmacies report information on people receiving certain drugs to a centralized database (ostensibly to "...help people work with their health care providers and pharmacists to know what medications are best for them."). State law does allow law enforcement to access the records, but only with a warrant. The DEA, however, thinks that, because the program is public, a citizen is knowingly disclosing that information to a third party thus losing all of their privacy rights (since you can always just opt out of receiving medical care) thanks to the Controlled Substances Act. The ACLU and medical professionals (PDF) don't think there's anything voluntary about receiving medical treatment, and that medical ethics override other concerns.

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455 comments

America is fucked ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947743)

You've lost sight of your own Constitution and what you stand for.

Now you're a bunch of witless idiots cowering in the dark.

Re:America is fucked ... (4, Insightful)

wizkid (13692) | about 10 months ago | (#44948001)

You've lost sight of your own Constitution and what you stand for.

The DEA lost sight of the oath they took a long time ago.

Now you're a bunch of witless idiots cowering in the dark.

Can't go along with that. I think corrupt morons is closer. Egotistical Assholes might also fit the bill.

Re:America is fucked ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948121)

I think if DEA were serious about their oath it would have dissolved long time ago.

I think if DEA were serious about use of common sense at daily work they would have dissolved long time ago.

Re:America is fucked ... (5, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#44948209)

The moment they started.
It took a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol. Where is the one that bans any other drugs or enables the DEA?

The Obama Administration... (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947773)

...has less respect for your privacy than Facebook, Apple, Google, or Microsoft.

Or, for that matter, the average spammer...

Re:The Obama Administration... (0, Flamebait)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 10 months ago | (#44948005)

I'd like to see what the Obama fans have to say about this one. Obama has proven himself to be even worse than Bush time after time, yet they never stop defending him.

Re:The Obama Administration... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948103)

What? You think Obama personally approves of this filing, that he was in some way responsible for writing it?

I'd like to see Obama critics actually think before they blame him for every action undertaken by the government. Not that I imagine it'll be any matter what he did, because the last time Obama rejected a government position out of principle, he got dunned for that too.

Re:The Obama Administration... (2)

thaylin (555395) | about 10 months ago | (#44948219)

Well, and I am neutral on the Obama thing, he could just tell the DEA to change tact, that is his job.

So the question becomes does he know about it or not. If not lets make him aware, if he does than he approves of it by the mere act of letting it proceed this way.

His job as CiC is to know what his government is doing, and making sure it does things right.

Re:The Obama Administration... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948229)

When you are the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation, it doesn't matter if you had no direct link to the underling who royally fucked something up. Blaming you for the fuckup is perfectly reasonable.

Why should it be any different for the POTUS?

Re:The Obama Administration... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948353)

Don't worry, your team will be back in the White House after 2016 (or later, if they turn their primary into another circular firing squad, but certainly they'll get back there eventually) and then you can go back to not caring about the exact same behavior because your guy is in charge.

This is a trend that has been going on more-or-less continuously since the J. Edgar Hoover administration and will continue to go on long after you die of old age.

DEA's drug of choice (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947781)

crack (they're on it, apparently)

Just another example... (5, Interesting)

killfixx (148785) | about 10 months ago | (#44947783)

Of these three-letter-agencies twisting the law to fit their needs. And, without any of the necessary oversight that we were promised.

So, I guess my question is, are things going to get better because we have a more aggressive flashlight for exposing these secret interpretations of our law, or, will this just keep getting worse until something significantly worse happens? Something like, Egypt, Syria, etc...

Revolutions are nothing new... I just wish they weren't so damned violent and terrifying.

Re:Just another example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947827)

there are lots of doctors writing prescriptions which are then resold on the street. the doctors are in on the scam since they cannot possibly see all these patients.

the DEA is just trying to catch shady doctors

Re:Just another example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947867)

there are lots of doctors writing prescriptions which are then resold on the street. the doctors are in on the scam since they cannot possibly see all these patients.

the DEA is just trying to catch shady doctors

Doctors gotta pay their lawyer fees somehow.

Re:Just another example... (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 10 months ago | (#44948089)

I don't particularly care what they are trying to do. Perhaps those "shady doctors", as you put it, are doing what doctors who prescribed alcohol during prohibition did: Realizing that arrest and jail is more harmful to the health of their patient than the drugs.

However, in any case, it doesn't matter what they are trying to do....ends do not justify means. Maybe I am "just trying to catch child pronographers" so I break into your house and inspect every file on your computer. Sure its wrong but hey, I am trying to catch child pornographers, so you should be happy I violated your privacy. As long as the intention is good, all is good in your mind right?

Re:Just another example... (3, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | about 10 months ago | (#44947943)

The NSA investigates supreme court nominees and presidential candidates to "keep us safe." The IRS targets their "enemies" (ie, anyone who wants to eliminate or reduce the IRS). The DEA wants to root through all your prescriptions and medications? No chance that will ever be abused!

Re:Just another example... (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 10 months ago | (#44948227)

In the IRS's defense ... A) they are NOT that bad. Contrary to the stories your grandpa told you about how evil they were. I've never seen an example of the IRS going after anyone who didn't deserve it or wasn't just a random audit (I was randomly selected for audit, which was awesome as I netted about $5500 out of the deal in the end) B) most of the people who want to reduce or eliminate the IRS are evading taxes, which is they feel is justified and is part of their reduce or eliminate the IRS kick.

You're just being ridiculous at this point by dragging the IRS in.

Re:Just another example... (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#44948023)

So what? "The DEA gotta catch shady doctors" does not translate to "you have no expectation of medical privacy". Especially when there are federal laws laying out that we do, in fact, have the expectation of privacy. In fact, those laws require anyone touching our medical information to provide us with a statement saying "hey, this is going to be kept private".

Re:Just another example... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#44948039)

there are lots of doctors writing prescriptions which are then resold on the street. the doctors are in on the scam since they cannot possibly see all these patients.

the DEA is just trying to catch shady doctors

And this is relevant to the DEA's desire to see my medical records why exactly?

Sure, I'm so worried that some pillhead will be buying opiates or amphetamines of standardized purity and potency produced by (somewhat) law-abiding companies according to FDA industrial heigine standards, rather than getting the good shit from biker gangs or mexican cartels or whatever that I'm willing to let the DEA have a rummage through my medical records (which are, of course, totally impossible to infer with nontrivial accuracy from my prescription history).

(As it is, why don't we cut the criminal distribution networks off at the knees by referring addicts straight to the higher-quality product, and accompanying opportunity for medical care and cessation assistance, provided by medical-grade drugs?)

Re:Just another example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948133)

That's a really strange thing for the DEA to do, because in so doing, they're creating incentive for doctors to write anonymous prescriptions. If prescriptions are public, then as a patient I don't want my name on them, and doctors shouldn't have to put their names on them either. DEA is undermining the entire purpose of prescription drug laws. If I were an Oregon legislator, I would remove prescription drug regulations ()remove the database requirement) until Congress in DC passed a new law making it illegal for the federal government to snoop on these state records.

Feds are getting to be a real problem, to the point where they are threatening consumer safety and creating all the drug problems that they were originally charged with fighting. Remember this, the next time you think about voting for a Republicrat.

Re:Just another example... (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44948143)

I would rather have thousands of junkies getting clean safe prescription drugs to feed their habit than have even one person condemned to a life of agony because the DEA makes doctors scared to prescribe pain meds.

The DEA needs to stop practicing medicine without a license.

Re:Just another example... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 10 months ago | (#44948293)

My wife is a chronic pain patient. I can't think of a single doctor that is 'afraid' to prescribe her high dosage opioids. They don't even hesitate a little bit. More often than not, if she ends up with a new doctor, the first thing she has to tell them is 'no, I don't want a higher dosage'.

If you know of a doctor thats scared of the DEA, thats because he's shuffling cases of opioids out the back door illegally, not because he's afraid they're going to come after him for giving someone a prescription.

Re:Just another example... (5, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 10 months ago | (#44948183)

the DEA is just trying to catch shady doctors

First of all, even if this was true, it wouldn't justify violating the privacy rights of third parties.

Secondly, the DEA considers any doctor who prescribes a lot of painkillers to be a "shady doctor", even if there is a legitimate medical reason. Doctors who treat people with chronic pain are in real danger of being prosecuted by these witch-hunters.

Re:Just another example... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948231)

there are lots of doctors writing prescriptions which are then resold on the street. the doctors are in on the scam since they cannot possibly see all these patients.

the DEA is just trying to catch shady doctors

If this was that big of a problem the street value of these things wouldn't be so high (last time someone in the know told me, single pills were 45 bucks apiece). The demand might be there but the supply definitely isn't. This is just another blanket grab at "meta-data" (which is just data termed differently so someone can act like they don't need a warrant).

Since the problem actually is limited, the DEA is free to do real police work, i,e. get a few leads off informants and then set up an undercover bust.

In Oregon this is includes data about pseudoephedrine, since you need a perscription for it. All fun stuff since it's been priced through the roof since then and allergy sufferers get to pay 10 times the old cost per month to not go around quite as miserable every day (and no, don't bang on about replacements, nothing works quite as well in combination with anything else as pseudoephedrine). But I'm sure this won't lead to doctors trying to avoid perscribing effective drugs in an effort to not get fucked with, right?

That's the state's job. Also, get a warrant. (5, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 10 months ago | (#44948311)

Repeat after me "the federal government does not have general police power". "The federal government does not have general police power".
See United States v. Dewitt, Employers' Liability Cases, Keller and the 10th amendment, which reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

"Find scam doctors" is not one of those delegated powers, which are listed in article 1, section 8.

This part of the filing on page was interesting:
The DEA is not required to obtain a court order based on probable cause to issue a subpoena or to have it enforced.

Fourth amendment, anyone?

Re:Just another example... (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 10 months ago | (#44947877)

Revolutions are not always violent. "Revolution" just means "turning around" -- some kind of major reversal of the social order. I would say the Civil Rights movement in the US was a revolution. Nelson Mandela's election in South Africa was a revolution. (OK, there was violence in both cases, but the violence was mostly aimed at *suppressing* those revolutions, and it failed.)

The US is a long, long way from needing actual bloodshed to improve its society. A few hundred thousand people marching in the streets would be plenty effective.

Re:Just another example... (3, Funny)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 10 months ago | (#44948131)

Revolutions are not always violent. "Revolution" just means "turning around" -- some kind of major reversal of the social order. I would say the Civil Rights movement in the US was a revolution. Nelson Mandela's election in South Africa was a revolution. (OK, there was violence in both cases, but the violence was mostly aimed at *suppressing* those revolutions, and it failed.)

The US is a long, long way from needing actual bloodshed to improve its society. A few hundred thousand people marching in the streets would be plenty effective.

if lots of people marching was all that was required then both the tea party and occupy would have sucseeded at something niether has.

Re:Just another example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948201)

I think the assessment that you still far off any revolution is correct.I also think that the mach you talk about are just impossible for the cause in question because the the privacy is not valued (FB etc) and the NSA spying not properly understood (find a common Joe sixpack that understands the meaning of 'meta data' for instance. If you identified all such individuals try to see how many of them understand significance of the spying program. Now how many people outside of flaming /.ers are left?

Re:Just another example... (3, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44948211)

There was plenty of violence and even assassinations in those fights. More recently, OWS protesters were tear gassed, maced, and beaten with clubs.

Re:Just another example... (5, Interesting)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 10 months ago | (#44948303)

I would say the Civil Rights movement in the US was a revolution.

I find it immensely depressing that the same generation that fought so hard and paid such a dear price for civil rights when they were young was the exact same generation to sell them back so cheaply when they were old.

Re:Just another example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948107)

So, I guess my question is, are things going to get better because we have a more aggressive flashlight for exposing these secret interpretations of our law, or, will this just keep getting worse until something significantly worse happens?

No, but things might get better because we have a more aggressive fleshlight for exposing these secret interpretations of our law.

DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947793)

DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (5, Insightful)

SemperUbi (673908) | about 10 months ago | (#44947859)

Seriously! We MD's and other hospital staff all have to get mandatory patient privacy and security training every year. Some people at the DEA need to do this too because they are WAY out of line.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44947879)

Exactly. HIPAA puts a pretty stiff fine on anyone giving out this kind of information.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (1)

GodInHell (258915) | about 10 months ago | (#44948011)

But there are exceptions. Like when a medical provider is forced to turn over records by act of law. 45 CFR 164.512 [cornell.edu] . Sounds like an unintended consequence of a state law. Hope the judge comes down on the ACLU's side.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44948053)

Agreed.

Actually, even moreso, I'd love to see the DEA, ATF, and several other redundant and questionable federal law enforcement agencies disbanded, but that seems much less likely.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (5, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 10 months ago | (#44948137)

IANAL, but HIPAA is very very clear on this. The information, even if turned over to a third party, needs to continue to be treated as HIPAA information. Since pharmacies are under HIPAA jurisdiction, either the Oregonian DB is HIPAA certified, or they're in violation of HIPAA. There is no leeway in the law. If, at any point, you have HIPAA information and fail to treat it as such, you will be fined, etc.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#44948233)

Which unfortunately does not change the law enforcement loopholes, but may actually indicate a warrant requirement. That end of the law is one I haven't had to address in my time in healthcare (2005-present).

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44947987)

The DEA jumped the shark a while back. If marijuana is a Schedule I drug (no accepted medical use, high probability of harm) and Marinol (concentrated, synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana) is a Schedule III (Like low dose hydrocodone - Vicodin) then something's pretty wacky.

They have no interest in doing anything but increasing their fiefdom. Which is a shame. There is a complex interplay between useful and dangerous drugs and uncontrolled drug abuse is dangerous (witness the bath salts issue). But no one wants to work the with the DEA since administratively they're still mired in the Reefer Madness [wikipedia.org] mindset.

The executive branch, ie. Obama, needs to slap on some testosterone patches (a Schedule III drug) and knock some upper level bureaucrats silly. There really is no possible law enforcement reason for this. If you are looking for the few doctors that really are the bad apples, the pill mill guys, then all you need to do is track the docs prescription volumes. Start looking at the folks, say two standard deviations from the mean. That should give you enough homework. You don't need to drill down to the individual patient level - that's not where the public health issue is.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 10 months ago | (#44948241)

Jumped the shark presumes they had a legitimate purpose at some point. The DEA is evil, it has always been evil, and has never had any purpose other than oppression.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about 10 months ago | (#44948085)

I wonder how long it will be before armed 'security' teams from DEA and DHHS get in a firefight over medical records.

Re:DEA, meet HIPAA and HITECH. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44948247)

Exactly. The fact that patents may know about HIPAA is sufficient grounds to believe they do have an expectation of privacy as well as a legal right to it..

I don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947803)

...because I get all my meds from Canada, for a fraction of the price.

Fsck the USA and its Industrial-Pharmaceutical Complex.

U mad bro? (1)

jennatalia (2684459) | about 10 months ago | (#44947815)

It's like people don't trust the gov't to handle their information.

Simply put: (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 10 months ago | (#44947825)

The DEA has become the enemy of the American people and needs to be disbanded, or at least have it's house cleaned.

Re:Simply put: (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#44947955)

The DEA has become the enemy of the American people and needs to be disbanded, or at least have it's house cleaned.

Arguably, it would be more amusing to apply genetic engineering techniques to construct a virus that splices in cannaboid synthesis mechanisms when it infects and organism. Then release it into their ventilation system.

An entire department full of psychoactive DEA agents whose bodies synthesize Schedule I controlled substances would be the ultimate in zany stoner comedy.

Re:Simply put: (2)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44948289)

Sounds like a great way to reign in the deficit while we're at it.

Kill the Unhealthy - Defund Obamacare (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947831)

Americans need to embrace capitalism and continue letting the sick die for lack of medical care.

You paid high premiums for years, and now that you are sick your health insurer dropped your coverage?

Drop dead! This is America!

Your insurance company is using its constitutional freedom by taking your money and then letting you die, bankrupt of course.

Thank you Terd Cruz for fighting to kill the sick!!

Re:Kill the Unhealthy - Defund Obamacare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948203)

Off topic much? This is about the DEA and privacy concerns, not your misguided pro-obamacare stance.

lol democrawhat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947833)

"and that medical ethics override other concerns."

You have no rights, you have no freedom, you will be set aside, persecuted and made an example of unless you comply.

Medical records privacy act? (4, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 10 months ago | (#44947837)

I'm puzzled; I'd think that this was covered by the Medical Records Privacy laws.

Personal information you give to your doctor is shared with insurance companies, pharmacies, researchers, and employers based on specific regulations.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/index.html [hhs.gov]
https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8-med.htm [privacyrights.org]

Re:Medical records privacy act? (1, Interesting)

cdrudge (68377) | about 10 months ago | (#44948267)

HIPAA specifically permits law enforcement to request PHI through a variety of means [hhs.gov] . A court order is probably the fool proof way to get it. Or they can just ask for it and say that it's for a specific investigation in a written letter...because no one would ever lie on a written letter. Or just claim that it's for national security. You don't want the terrorists to win do you? Will someone think of the children!?!?

Reminds me of the TSA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947839)

Their argument is pretty much the same as one of the arguments some have used to justify the TSA. You want to get on a plane? It's technically not necessary to do so, so us government thugs are justified in violating your rights. It's also not 100% necessary to live in certain cities or be in specific places at specific times, but these government thugs have never cared about anyone's rights, so they just do and say whatever they please to justify their own evil.

Disband the DEA (2)

c5402dc53929211e1efb (3084201) | about 10 months ago | (#44947873)

It's just another unconstitutional agency full of thugs. Problem solved.

Re:Disband the DEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948093)

Thats a shit solution. Id like to see these mutherfuckers burned.

More to come (0, Offtopic)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 10 months ago | (#44947885)

I would expect this to get worse. As Obama care kicks in and the government demands more and more of our medical records they will begin to dig deeper and deeper. I am not looking forward to government bureaucrats deciding what is and is not needed for my medical conditions. That is for me and the doctor to decided, not the government.

Re:More to come (1)

disposable60 (735022) | about 10 months ago | (#44948273)

You, your doctor and your healh insurance provider's (if any) utilization review board.

Re:More to come (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948279)

I am not looking forward to government bureaucrats deciding what is and is not needed for my medical conditions. That is for me and the doctor and the for-profit health insurance industry to decide, not the government.

As they say: "FTFY", including a typo.

Re:More to come (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44948319)

And the CEO of your insurance company who needs that third yacht.

Re:More to come (2)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 10 months ago | (#44948351)

That is for me and the doctor to decided, not the government.

You mean you, the doctor, and the insurance company? Because that's the current situation, is it not? It constantly amazes me how a profit-making private company can be more trusted than a non-profit public organisation.

But then I live in one of those communist European states that have had universal healthcare for 60 years, what would I know.

Re:More to come (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948373)

I would expect this to get worse. As Obama care kicks in and the government demands more and more of our medical records they will begin to dig deeper and deeper. I am not looking forward to government bureaucrats deciding what is and is not needed for my medical conditions. That is for me and the doctor to decided, not the government.

Unless you pay 100% of your own medical care your private insurance company (which you probably did not choose, you probably had to accept the one given you by fiat) is already doing this. If you're sceptical, just check into how many labs are ordered by the same doc for people who have 100% lab coverage vs. people who have to pay for part or all of their labs. Your doctor decides far more based on what private industry tells them than based on what you think, unless you're very knowledgeable, in fact, most of the information you get will be pre-tailored based on what your insurance will cover, and in some cases, based on what the last drug rep told your doc.

And the Federal Single Payer Board, if it could somehow exist, has far different goals in looking at your medical records than does the DEA, there is actually a difference (provided it's not 100% staffed by industry goons).

I'm not sure why this fantasy persists that our health care is so great and we're somehow in control in this country. Just get really sick one time with an extended issue, or perhaps have a child that needs expensive, specialized care, I promise you will probably be quickly disabused of this notion.

Medical Treatment and Confidentiality (3, Interesting)

astapleton (324242) | about 10 months ago | (#44947895)

Hmmm, let's see...if I'm being treated for a condition, any condition not involving an illegal act, and someone walks into my doctor's office and says "Give me Example Guy's current medical records", the first words out of my doctor's mouth will be "Show me your warrant or get out of my office."

So if the doctor prescribes medication to treat my medical condition, that comes under doctor-patient confidentiality. The ONLY people I have to share that information with are the pharmacy tech and pharmacy manager who do not share that information with anyone else outside that doctor's office.

So why do authority and police organizations think it's okay to grab my records at a whim because I'm taking, say, Ritalin to treat severe ADHD? They have no business or right to be pawing through peoples' records looking for criminals unless they serve a warrant to every physician involved. There is no condition under which legally prescribed medication falls outside of those parameters unless the patient himself gives said organization written authorization gained in a legal manner to search their own records.

So take your 'public disclosure' bull and stick it up your backside along with badge, Mr. Policeman. The rules apply to EVERYONE, not just the people who don't own their very own cheap tin badges.

Re:Medical Treatment and Confidentiality (3, Interesting)

tiberus (258517) | about 10 months ago | (#44948041)

Hmmm, so if my records are made available to a third party, I lose my right to privacy . . .

Well, my medical insurance requires access to my records or at least to medical information in order to process claims for coverage, including condition, diagnosis, tests, medication, etc., etc. etc.

So by logical extension, the medical records of everyone are public?!?

Re:Medical Treatment and Confidentiality (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 10 months ago | (#44948367)

Hmmm, let's see...if I'm being treated for a condition, any condition not involving an illegal act, and someone walks into my doctor's office and says "Give me Example Guy's current medical records", the first words out of my doctor's mouth will be "Show me your warrant or get out of my office."

You have a LOT more faith in your doctor then I would have over any doctor I ever have gone to or heard about.

Legal or not, those with guns usually get what they want. And if it's not an actual gun, it's the threat that the doctor's office may suddenly find operation very difficult when all their permits suddenly get re-evaluated and their compliance audited...

Bull Shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947899)

...a citizen is knowingly disclosing that information to a third party thus losing all of their privacy rights.

What's this "knowingly" bullshit?!

Look it, you know all that paperwork doctors' offices shove under your nose when you see them? I actually read that shit. And, there's only vague - very vague - verbiage stating how information may be shared with insurance companies for payment reasons and with other entities for our care. Nothing specific.

That's it.

But here's the fucking kicker, after helping out a doctor with an IT issue a few months ago, I found about this agency [georgia.gov] and what they are doing. I never heard about that.

The doc subscribes to it to make sure that his patients aren't doctor shopping, but never the less, it was the first I've heard about it.

HIPAA? Only applies to insurance companies.

And this day and age of the "War on Drugs", the politicization of everything, and a select minority of people out there who don't know when to keep their noses out of other people's business, keeping things private that should be private is a thing of the past, I'm afraid. The genie is out of the bottle.

DEA cannot win this. Why bother? (3, Insightful)

wilson_c (322811) | about 10 months ago | (#44947911)

Why would the DEA waste their time and money on this? HIPAA thoroughly establishes prescription records as being contained within the scope of medical privacy.

Re:DEA cannot win this. Why bother? (5, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | about 10 months ago | (#44948051)

Because they're a government agency and government agencies waste time and money. The DEA in particular has been nothing but a waste of time and money since its inception, the functional equivalent of pouring gasoline on trillions of taxpayer dollars and burning them. Formed on the pretext that marijuana is "bad" for you with no studies done on the subject, their sole purpose has been to perpetuate the myth that their existence makes the country a better place. All it has, in fact, brought is is a slow erosion of the Constitution, the indentured servitude of a generation of young, mostly-black youth and a no apparent impact on the drug use in the country. If they were disbanded today, no one would notice a thing. They know they need to keep distracting us and flailing their arms about anything they can come up with, so that lawmakers under the influence of hysteria increase their budget next year.

Ask a silly question...

Re:DEA cannot win this. Why bother? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#44948345)

functional equivalent of pouring gasoline on trillions of taxpayer dollars and burning them

At least that would have the advantage of keeping people warm during the winter. We could cut the DEA, ship billions of "burning dollars" to homeless shelters (to burn, not spend) and still come out ahead.

Re:DEA cannot win this. Why bother? (1)

hsmith (818216) | about 10 months ago | (#44948101)

All they have to do is put a Business Associate Agreement in place and they satisfy HIPAA.

Re:DEA cannot win this. Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948193)

Simple: Marijuana is federally illegal, even if it's not illegal at the state level, and this would give them proof that you were receiving it, allowing them to arrest you.

Re:DEA cannot win this. Why bother? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#44948329)

Time and money mean nothing to them. Power means everything. If they try to grab this power and lose, nothing bad will happen. Sure they'll have wasted time and money, but that's the tax payers' stuff. Who cares, really? However, if they try this power grab and succeed, then they've got a shiny new weapon in the fight against drugs (where "fight against drugs" is a code name for "get more power for ourselves").

I have an idea... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#44947919)

If the DEA argues that medical care is purely voluntary, rather than necessary, and thus 'choosing' it constitutes consent, would it be entirely ethical for medical professionals to refuse 'elective procedures' to all DEA functionaries? After all, the patient himself says that the procedure is totally voluntary, so I don't see why they have any professional or ethical obligation to assist with it, not when they could be treating people with actually urgent problems....

Re:I have an idea... (1)

gewalker (57809) | about 10 months ago | (#44947993)

I have an idea, how about if doctors simply stop providing medical care in any form to any DEA agent until this policy is publicly reversed and apologized for and the culprits behind it fired.

Re:I have an idea... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#44948079)

That was the idea: the DEA argues that all medical care is essentially elective. Doctors have no particular ethical obligation to undertake elective procedures, and by their own assertion all medical care that DEA agents receive is elective...

Re:I have an idea... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 10 months ago | (#44948381)

Since all medical care (according to the DEA) is elective, that's what he's saying.

meanwhile, I guess they'll have to let those nutty fundamentalist parents who refuse life saving care for their children have their way,. After all, medical care is voluntary and they chose not to volunteer.

Not the DEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44947973)

It's not the DEA that thinks that, it's 'SOMEONE' in the DEA. DEA is not a sentient being. Do you think every DEA official is happy that DEA wants to grab their drug prescription data without a warrant? Why? Why can't they/won't they get the warrant? It won't be rank and file DEA, it won't even be anyone normally part of DEA.

Do you really think rank and file DEA officials like lying in court? Risking criminal prosecution? Yet they are made to do that to cover for NSA tips/arrest orders.

I bet its just another top level decision, this time to grab medical records for the NSA's database, and push it as a DEA request. When in fact its above DEA.

Re:Not the DEA (1)

c5402dc53929211e1efb (3084201) | about 10 months ago | (#44948007)

Do you think every DEA official is happy that DEA wants to grab their drug prescription data without a warrant? Why?

Yes, because they work for the DEA and if they had a functional brain they wouldn't.

Re:Not the DEA (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 10 months ago | (#44948045)

The DEA is the party that filed the brief. The court document lists "UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, an agency of the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE" as the Defendant in Intervention. Yes, it is not a sentient being, but the actions are being taken as the official statement of the DEA.

Re:Not the DEA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948291)

I'm suggesting that it's not the actions of the DEA, but higher up than them. I'm suggesting further that this doesn't have popular support among the actual DEA agents.

It's just another data grab, this time with the DEA ordered to take the rap.

If you consider the case of DEA agents ordered to lie in court to cover tip-off from the NSA, the actual agents can't possibly be happy with that. It's them that commit perjury, not the big boss. It's likely those orders came from higher up.

Re:Not the DEA (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 10 months ago | (#44948355)

It's not the DEA that thinks that, it's 'SOMEONE' in the DEA. DEA is not a sentient being.

An organization is more than the sum of its members. It is also rules, bylaws, tradition, hierarchy, property and money, a charter, etc. You don't need to look further than an ant hill to see an example.

What about HIPAA? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44947985)

Isn't this a direct violation of HIPAA?

Re:What about HIPAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948321)

To file a legal briefing saying HIPAA doesn't apply?

No.

Not generally a fan of the ACLU... (0)

kick6 (1081615) | about 10 months ago | (#44947989)

But occasionally they DO actually go to bad for the right causes. This would be one of them. Considering Obamacare says we CAN'T opt out of insurance over medical care, we really can't opt out of medical care either thus making the DEA's response pure crap.

Re:Not generally a fan of the ACLU... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948109)

But occasionally they DO actually go to bad...

I'm sure you meant "go to bat".

Re:Not generally a fan of the ACLU... (2)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 10 months ago | (#44948341)

ACLU has to defend even the bad guys from bad government. If they wait until the good guys are in trouble, you have piles of case law to undo before you can get to the actual defense.
Same way patents are attacked before being granted.
protecting free speech means a lot of things you disagree with get said. protecting privacy means some guilty people go free. This is how the country is supposed to work.

Big Profits (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about 10 months ago | (#44948017)

Step 1: Install license plate reader in cop cars.

Step 2: Get a database of everyone to their plates from the DMV

Step 3: Get a list of all drugs that you should not drive if you are on.

Step 4: Get a database of what drugs people are on.

Step 5: for every plate you see, check if they can be driving

Step 6: pull over anyone who fits the profile. If their picture matches,

Step 7: Issue tickets and jail time

Step 8: profit!

Re:Big Profits (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44948271)

Profit for the companies who supply the equipment and run the prisons. Loss for the taxpayers.

Monkey Business (2)

Tempest_2084 (605915) | about 10 months ago | (#44948043)

Am I the only one who read that title as "DEA Argues ORANGUTANS Have No Protected Privacy Interest In Prescription Records"? I was genuinely interested then thoroughly disappointed.

Re:Monkey Business (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 10 months ago | (#44948365)

Of course, the DEA would argue against Orangutan rights. The DEA's run by a bunch of baboons!

Replace Pharmacy (2)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 10 months ago | (#44948069)

[C]itizens whose [...] records are handed over to a [lawyer] — or any other third-party — have 'no expectation of privacy' for that information.

Or perhaps:

[C]itizens whose [thoughts] are [recorded by] a [psychologist] — or any other third-party — have 'no expectation of privacy' for that information.

And if we can work our way around the Fourth and Fifth amendments, let's have at the First as well.

[C]itizens whose [confessions] are [given] to a [priest] — or any other third-party — have 'no expectation of privacy' for that information.

This is foolish and hopefully the laws will overturn it. If I could support only two bills this year, one would be a bill that would henceforth hold accountable corporate heads who engage in the sort of shenanigans that led to the recession. It would require jail-time. But if I could only support one bill, it would require jail-time for the heads of alphabet soup agencies whose policy decisions are found to violate the Constitution. A judge might yet throw this out, but if the people who make such decisions do not suffer they'll just try again in a different way. If he wishes to sit on the throne, let Damocles sit under the sword.

How does this not violate HPAA? (1)

Dputiger (561114) | about 10 months ago | (#44948073)

HPAA, from what I've seen, is taken pretty seriously. And the rules about what you can and can't disclose because of it are pretty strong. But how does this not flagrantly violate the protections it's supposed to offer? I'm not saying HPAA is perfect or implemented perfectly, but if you know what someone is taking, you know far more about them than if they simply see a doctor.

Seeing a general physician could mean you've got the flu, an infected cut, a torn muscle, or be the first step towards a cancer diagnosis. But if you're on Flexeril, you've probably got a muscle problem. If you're taking Enalapril, you've got a heart condition. If you're on Adderall, or Vicodin, or Cymbalta, you're being treated for ADD, pain, or depression. Some of those meds have off-label uses (Cymbalta is also used for fibromyalgia), but a quick check of Wikipedia against a script list will give you a darned good idea what someone is using a medication for.

HIPPA (3, Interesting)

MrKaos (858439) | about 10 months ago | (#44948097)

Co-incidentally, I was doing training on this today. From what I learned this the point of the legislation in HIPPA. The act (and the amendments) concerns the confidential transit of private medical information and the correct handling and destruction of it. Of course they need a warrant otherwise it's a violation, liable to some pretty big fines. That might even affect the admissibility of the evidence to a court because it's illegally obtained.

2c

Re:HIPPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948269)

It's HIPAA and it only applies to insurance.

What's ambiguous? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 10 months ago | (#44948163)

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against ... ...and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

How is this ambiguous?

Take them at their word (1)

return 42 (459012) | about 10 months ago | (#44948197)

Good morning, Anonymous.

In an ongoing court case, the US Drug Enforcement Agency has argued that citizens have no "expectation of privacy" for any medical records that are ever provided to any third party.

You mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take them at their word. Find the medical records of as many of the following people as possible: members of the DEA, attorneys for the DEA in this case, and any judge at any level of the US judiciary who has ever ruled against citizens' privacy. Publish said records. After all, according to the DEA's own argument, they have no expectation of privacy. No harm, no foul.

Good luck, Anonymous. This posting will self-destruct in five seconds.

Re:Take them at their word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948371)

It's generally not a good idea to try to direct Anonymous. It doesn't work out well.

Easy solution (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 10 months ago | (#44948237)

Defund the DEA. We would literally save $billions on the actual DEA budget, and there would be knock-on effects in not having to turn cities into war zones combating something that's a public health problem. Take half the money we spend on DEA, and earmark it for addiction treatment under Obamacare. Drug problem solved (to the extent that it can be solved). DEA Agents? Don't worry. There are food stamps and Obamacare for you. We'll treat you well, and help you to find a new productive career; but if you throw a tantrum and hurt somebody we'll put you in the same corporate prison you put other people in.

Someone at the DEA needs to be fired (1)

mbone (558574) | about 10 months ago | (#44948239)

(Actualy, I think that everyone at the DEA needs to be let go, but that is a different political argument.)

This argument is so brain-dead and politically DOA that you have to wonder if something is not being mis-represented. However, if it is as the ACLU (generally a reliable source) relates, whoever is heading the DEA legal team is both dangerous and incompetent, and needs to go.

Why does the DEA even exist! (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | about 10 months ago | (#44948285)

Get rid of them all! Billion saved! Hurray!

They are afraid!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44948379)

The DEA violated HIPPA repeatedly when they grabbed all the medical records of legitimate medical cannabis dispensaries. They are trying to preempt the lawsuit that is inevitably coming.

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