The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing Wednesday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. EDT in Washington on why legislation that calls for the electronic reporting of prescription drugs to law enforcement and healthcare providers to control abuse of prescription drugs such as OxyContin has not been implemented.
The National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act was first introduced in 2003 and passed Congress and was signed into law by President Bush in August 2005.
The original goal of the legislation was to help healthcare providers obtain adequate information to better treat patients with substance abuse by monitoring their prescription histories. The coverage of the legislation was expanded to include access to law enforcement agencies to monitor dispensing of controlled substances. The law also provides for collection of information on pet owners whose animals have been prescribed controlled substances by veterinarians.
A Washington-based health privacy advocacy group, the Institute for Health Freedom, dubbed the act a "prescription for privacy invasions" because individuals do not have a right to opt out of the state databases nor do they have a right to know whether their information has been accessed by others, including law enforcement officials.