Scaled-Back Version of Drug Database Passes Senate

MARCH 9, 2007 - Posted at 6:58 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Scaling back the scope of a statewide database to monitor some prescription drug purchases has gained Senate approval of the measure.  The bill's sponsor said yesterday that the amendments were intended to address concerns about patient privacy.

By a 20-to-7 vote, the Senate approved the bill by Senator Denny Altes of Fort Smith that would allow the state Board of Pharmacy to establish standards for setting up the database on drug purchases.  The database would track Schedule Two and Schedule Three narcotics, such as morphine or OxyContin.

Altes said the bill had been amended six times, to address concerns that were raised.  He originally called for a database to track virtually all prescription drug purchases in the state.

But Senator Jim Argue of Little Rock said he still believes the database could be subject to abuse and could harm the privacy of some patients.  He said there was no evidence that such a database would work, but there is evidence that databases like this can be violated.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)