Why the DEA is suing Colorado’s pharmacy board as part of an opioid investigation
The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has sued the board that regulates Colorado’s pharmacies, demanding it share information from a database that tracks opioid prescriptions and setting up a clash over patient privacy amid the nation’s overdose epidemic.
The requested information is part of an investigation into whether two unnamed pharmacies broke the law in dispensing opioids and other drugs, according to a DEA agent’s declaration filed in the lawsuit.
“Such violations of law could potentially contribute to significant public harm in Colorado, including the overdose or death of patients,” diversion program manager Kerry Hamilton wrote.
The DEA previously issued administrative subpoenas to the State Board of Pharmacy for the information, which is kept under the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, or PDMP. The program tracks opioid and other drug prescriptions, including the names of doctors, patients and pharmacies.
State officials refused to provide the information, though, citing patient privacy concerns. That prompted the lawsuit, which seeks a judge’s order enforcing the subpoenas and was filed last week in federal court in Denver. In addition to the Pharmacy Board, the lawsuit also names Patty Salazar, the head of the state Department of Regulatory Agencies, and Appriss, Inc., a Kentucky company the state pays to collect and maintain the PDMP data.
Read more via The Colorado Sun.
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