DEA sues Colorado pharmacy board for refusing to release patient data

The Drug Enforcement Administration is suing the Colorado State Board of Pharmacy, demanding it share patient information from its prescription drug monitoring program, according to The Colorado Sun.

The DEA wants the patient data for its investigation into two Colorado pharmacies that seeks to determine if they broke the law when dispensing opioids and other drugs.

The state's PDMP tracks opioids and other prescription drugs and contains the names of physicians, patients and pharmacies.

The DEA previously issued administrative subpoenas to obtain the information. However, Colorado state officials refused to provide it citing patient privacy concerns.

In response, the DEA filed a lawsuit in federal court in Denver, seeking a judge's order enforcing the subpoenas, according to The Colorado Sun.

In addition to the Colorado Pharmacy Board, the lawsuit names Patty Salazar, the head of the state's Department of Regulatory Agencies, and Appriss, a Kentucky company that collects and maintains PDMP data in the state.

The state regulatory department argues it is committed to fighting the opioid epidemic, but it needs to do so in a way that doesn't compromise hundreds of thousands of patients' privacy. The DEA argues it needs the patient data to link prescribing and dispensing practices to real-world harm, and legal limits would prevent them from releasing the data and compromising patient privacy.

The lawsuit doesn't name the pharmacies under investigation, but says one is ranked among the top pharmacy purchasers of three types of opioids over the last two years, according to The Colorado Sun.

It is uncertain when the lawsuit will be resolved.

Read the full article here.

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