The plan is HB12-1242 and is under consideration by the Colorado Assembly, which is deliberating the demand that “practitioners and PDOs (prescription drug outlets)” install and maintain “biometric scanning devices and to use those devices to obtain a biometric scan of a person’s biometric identifier, such as a fingerprint or retinal scan, and to submit the scan to the database.”
The pharmacies would have to “prior to prescribing or dispensing a prescription drug or dispensing a restricted over-the-counter substance … submit specified information to the [state] database.” That information would include details about the drug and the doctor who prescribed it as well as the “name and address of the person receiving the substance.”
Officials with Colorado's Independence Institute noted that the plan is in addition to another proposal regarding the existing “All-Payer Health Claims Database” which already allows officials to “collect whatever medical data [they wish] from every health care ‘payer’ in the state. … Fines may be levied on the noncompliant.”
“As if the APDB isn’t enough, Reps. Summers and Massey, along with Sen. Betty Boyd are sponsoring HB12-1242. Under that bill, you won’t be able to get prescription medications or controlled over-the-counter medications without providing a biometric identifier like a fingerprint or a retinal scan. Failure to comply would be a Class 1 misdemeanor, a crime as serious as the possession of child pornography or third degree assault,” said a commentary by Linda Gorman and Amy Oliver of the Institute.
The lawmakers’ own description of their plan says the state would have to set up an “electronic system to monitor and store in a secure database” information about prescriptions.
The information that is collected would be stored by the state, and in addition would be used to raise alerts about medications that may “overlap.” Additionally, “The database may retain encrypted personal protected health care information in the case of electronic prescriptions if the only entity able to decrypt the information is the intended prescription drug outlet for delivery or dispensing. “This section does not preclude practitioners and prescription drug outlets from retaining personal information about their patients that is collected and maintained in their regular course of business in compliance with applicable law.”
“In short, a database used to evaluate treatment efficacy and value must include all the data of a clinical trial. That means all of the information available to your physician, pharmacist, and hospital, and information about your personal habits, income, education, and family life,” the commentary warned.