DEA: Medical Records Sent To Pharmacies Have No Protected Privacy

Kristen Butler | United Press International (UPI) | September 24, 2013

In response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Drug Enforcement Administration argues that the "third-party doctrine" revokes privacy protections from citizens' prescription medical records.

The DEA says that, much like emails sent through someone else's server, once medical records are given to a pharmacy, or any third party, a citizen should have "no expectation of privacy" for that data.

The ACLU is representing a physician and four patients in Oregon whose prescription records are stored in a state database used to assist doctors in preventing drug abuse. The DEA has been requesting information from this database through subpoenas rather than a probable cause warrant as a state law requires.