The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that criticism is mounting over Florida’s fledgling
prescription drug database since the medication history for 3,300 people was released as part of a prescription fraud investigation in Volusia County. The records were given to federal and state agencies as part of this investigation, and eventually fell in the hands of five defense attorneys connected to the case. One man whose records were among those released has filed suit and is trying to keep the 3,300 records private.
Many times, when one is charged with a prescription drug crime, inculpatory evidence needed to convict one is in one’s private documents, either in prescription records or the medical records that diagnosed with one a disease or illness that allowed one to receive the prescription drugs.
Medical Records are very important to the every citizen. These records contain vital information for how to treat an illness, whether a family member has an illness that they were not aware of, and in some cases, they mean one’s reputation and professional career may be on the line because of a disclosure. If one’s medical records have been accessed wrongfully, one should be aware of one’s rights and defenses regarding what might be found, as well as any subsequent claims one might file against the disclosing party.
In Florida, every person has the fundamental right to be let alone and free from government
intrusion into her private life under the Constitution. This right does not guarantee complete
freedom from intrusion, but the state must meet the strict scrutiny test, by furthering a compelling sate interest and employing the least intrusive means to do so. For a particular facet of private life to be protected, the individual must have reasonable expectation of privacy for that facet.
Medical Records are private documents in Florida and are protected from public records
request. Therefore, medical records will not be subject to a public records request.
Besides information about physical health, these records may include information about family relationships, sexual behavior, substance abuse, and even the private thoughts and feelings that come with psychotherapy. This information is often keyed to a social security number.
Because of a lack of consistent privacy protection in the use of Social Security Number, the
information may be easily accessible. Information from one’s medical records may influence one’s credit, admission to educational institutions, and employment. It may also affect one’s ability to get health insurance, or the rates one might pay for coverage. More importantly, having others know intimate details about one’s private life may mean a loss of dignity and a reputation for either having mental or drug dependency problems.
An experienced attorney can conduct a thorough investigation, taking depositions of all state
witnesses and examining all of the evidence. Medical records many times reveal problems in
the State’s case that allow one’s charge to be lessened or dismissed. For example, if the State claims that one was filling prescriptions fraudulently or for illegal sale, and the State claims the drugs came from prescription or pharmacy that one has never been to or filled a prescription at, an experienced Jacksonville drug crimes defense attorney cast a major doubt whether the rest of the State’s case holds any weight, possibly leading to a favorable outcome on a motion to suppress evidence. If the evidence is suppressed, the charge may not stand.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for
years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Release of Florida prescription drug database records raises privacy concerns, Tallahassee Times-Bureau, The Bradenton Herald