Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Nova Scotia government introduces legislation to monitor drug prescribing

The government of Nova Scotia has introduced a bill in the legislature that would allow the Prescription Drug Monitoring Board to have full access to medical records of Nova Scotians and to report suspected illegal prescribing to law enforcement.

Board may soon be able to report suspected abuse of prescription drugs

By AMY SMITH / Provincial Reporter Twelve years after its creation, Nova Scotia's prescription monitoring board could soon have the legal authority to report suspected drug abuse.

"Very often a physician is not aware another physician or two other physicians are writing prescriptions for the same product for that individual," board chairman Patrick King said Tuesday. "The program will now have the teeth to be able to deal with these individuals to the appropriate law enforcement...."

The Minister of Health's press release is available at

From Bill 107:

Prescription Monitoring Act:

"18 Upon the request of the Administrator, prescribers, pharmacists or any other body or person shall provide to the Administrator any information, including medical records, the Administrator requires to achieve the objects of the Program.

19 Information received by

(a) the Administrator;

(b) any person employed by the Administrator pursuant to this Act; or

(c) the Board,

shall only be used in accordance with this Act and the regulations and not for any other purpose.

20 Notwithstanding the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Administrator may release

(a) information with respect to monitored drugs; and

(b) personal information with respect to a resident who has a prescription for monitored drugs,

to a prescriber, a pharmacist, a licensing authority or other body or person to achieve the objects of the Program.

21 Information communicated to the Administrator or the Board by persons employed in the administration of the Health Services and Insurance Act is deemed to be information communicated pursuant to clause 34(a) of the Health Services and Insurance Act.

22 (1) Any data provided to the Minister, the Governor in Council or the public with respect to the Program pursuant to this Act shall be non-nominal data.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a resident may have access to the resident's own personal information with respect to the Program.

23 (1) Where the Administrator has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada) or the Criminal Code (Canada) or successor legislation, information in the possession of the Administrator in respect of such offence may be communicated to the appropriate law enforcement authority by the Administrator or such person as may be designated by the Administrator.

(2) The Administrator may, at any time, file a complaint with a licensing authority regarding the activities of a member of that licensing authority if the Administrator has reason to believe that the member may be practising in a manner that is inconsistent with the objects of the Program.

(3) Where the Administrator lays a complaint pursuant to subsection (2), the Administrator shall provide the licensing authority with all relevant information on which the complaint is based."

So far, there hasn't been much comment on the privacy aspects of the proposed law.

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