Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pharmacists worry about police requests

I applaud the actions of this Vermont pharmacist. The "War on Drugs" is much more aggressive in the States, but I could see a similar situation occuring in Canada. As pharmacists, we need to ensure that patient info is only released when appropriate.

From the Barre Montpelier (VT) Times Argus:
Law enforcement offices in Vermont are supposed to collect information about the purchase of prescription drugs only when they have a reason to believe a specific crime may have been committed.

But in at least one case last month, Vermont State Police asked for a list of all customers seeking powerful pain medicine, according to a pharmacist.

Fairfax Pharmacy owner Rick Hogle said he refused to hand over a list of his customers prescribed schedule-two drugs, which include medications such as oxycodone, when asked by a state police trooper who was investigating the spread of such drugs on the street.

Hogle, a pharmacist for 16 years, said he felt caught between protecting the privacy of his customers and assisting law enforcement in stopping the illegal sale and use of these medications.

"I'm not going to release patient information," Hogle said. "The woman from the state police was very polite and did not throw her weight around, but unless they get a court order, I'm not going to release this information." ...more

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