- The Maine Wire - https://www.themainewire.com -

Proposed expansion of the Prescription Monitoring Program violates patients’ rights

I am gravely concerned about provisions in LD 2117 which would mandate that all prescriptions dispensed for all Maine citizens be recorded in an electronic government database, the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The PMP already exists to track controlled substance prescriptions, such as opiates (Oxycontin, Morphine, etc.), tranquilizers (Valium, Xanax), and stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall) to prevent drug abuse and ‘doctor shopping.’

This bill would dramatically expand the program far beyond its intended scope. On its face, this appears to be a governmental intrusion against the privacy rights of its citizens, which is Orwellian in nature. 

While the authors of the bill tell us that anyone who desires can ‘opt out’ of their new database, no one should feel reassured. Too often, we have seen a controversial government policy which was originally sold as optional become mandatory over time.

If this becomes the case, then without a warrant, and without the consent of either the patient or their physician, the government would be collecting intimate personal and private healthcare information on its citizens. Whatever theoretical public benefit this legislation might offer is outweighed by its potential consequences, be they intentional or unintentional.

This proposal represents a threat to the civil liberties of Mainers and should not go unchallenged for several reasons:

For all these reasons, I encourage the committee members to be on record as being guardians of the civil liberties of their fellow Mainers and stand in opposition of this bill.

Note: LD 2117 has not been reported out of committee. All committee work has been suspended due to the coronavirus and the Maine Legislature is set to adjourn sine die Tuesday. There is no word yet on when and if the Maine Legislature will reconvene in 2020.