Thousands of Floridians' Private Prescription Info Leaked From State's RX Database
As part of Florida's efforts to crack down on pill mills, the state initiated an online database in 2009 that tracked the store prescribing and dispensing data for controlled substances.
Well, according to the ACLU, the private medical data of more than 3,000 Floridians has now leaked from that database.
"The private medical information of more than 3,000 Floridians--namely what prescription drugs they take, the dosage, their date of birth, address, and the name of the pharmacy that dispensed the prescription, ended up in the hands of third parties who simply have no legal right to know which law-abiding citizens are taking which prescribed medications," stated ACLU of Florida Associate Legal Director Maria Kayanan in a statement. "We want to know how this monumental breach of security and confidentiality occurred, and how a State-mandated database could apparently be so misused that it led to the widespread distribution of intimate medical information unconnected to any ongoing investigation."
The organization has now filed a public records request in order to find out how exactly that happened.
The information was accidentally released to prosecutors and defense attorneys in six criminal cases pending in Volusia County, Florida. Most of those leak victims had nothing to do with those criminal cases.
The ACLU claims that the maintenance and security safeguards on the database are faulty at best, and want to ensure that Florida taking every step possible to protect residents' privacy.
While Florida's efforts since 2009 to crack down on prescription pill abuse and pill mills in the state have largely been effective, detractors raised privacy concerns about the database when it was first proposed.