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Local pharmacy collecting patient information

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Updated: 5/01/2013 11:41 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville hospital patient showed Action News the two dozen prescriptions she takes to treat a disease she wants kept secret along with her name. But this 33-year-old woman now worries about more than her sickness. She's concerned her pharmacy is invading her privacy.

"The doctor told me they wanted my information, including diagnosis and my medical history," she said.

Walgreens pharmacy recently sent a letter to doctors requesting additional patient info before dispensing certain prescriptions.

Dr. Daniel Kantor, president of the Florida Society of Neurology, said, "Now the pharmacy is saying, 'We're not going to give you the medicine unless you give us a lot more information, a lot more private information about your patients.'"

From his office in Ponte Vedra Beach, Kantor sent a letter last week to Walgreens expressing concern about the corporation’s new policy about dispensing controlled substance medications.

"We have laws about controlled substances," Kantor told Action News, "It doesn't say that pharmacies should be collecting their own information and putting it in their own database."

A patient who takes multiple prescribed controlled substance medicines said to Action News, "I’m embarrassed and I'm nervous about what they do with it. I don't want everybody knowing my medical history."

Pharmacies are considered health care providers by law.
Walgreens issued a statement to Action News which reads in part: “[B]y law, pharmacists are granted access to private health information necessary for them to perform their responsibilities. We are working to ensure our patients continue to have access to the medications they need while fulfilling our role in reducing the potential abuse of controlled substances.”

Kantor told Action News he believes Walgreens, the largest drug retailer in the nation, is the only pharmacy collecting this additional information.

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