WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a long-awaited proposal to relax privacy requirements for patients with a history of addiction.

The proposal, which health secretary Alex Azar described in an interview, could ultimately prevent health providers from unknowingly prescribing opioids or other potentially harmful drugs to patients who have been treated for addiction. Current restrictions, Azar argued, can prevent physicians and health systems from accessing addiction history information that patients have agreed to share.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT Plus and enjoy your first 30 days free!

GET STARTED

What is it?

STAT Plus is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • Online intelligence briefings
  • Frequent opportunities to engage with veteran beat reporters and industry experts
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.

Leave a Comment

Please enter your name.
Please enter a comment.

  • We have already seen the blatant abuse of trust in other records. The administration has already weaponized various records, so no good can come from any of this. We have had 22 years of lies and misinformation, about addiction and chronic pain. They failed to protect patients sensitive information, while allowing the media to misreport the science, and facts.

    Physicians refuse to treat patients with chronic pain, already. It will be even worse for the addicted. Private information should be critical to medical treatment, but we have already seen how this has been used to deny medical care. The media conflated addiction and chronic pain, at the request of the pharma industry, and it was really good for marketing.

    There is already too much discrimination in healthcare, and no measure has been taken to ensure that records are accurate. Hospitals regularly redact and tamper with patient records to avoid accountability. Our healthcare system looks more and more criminal every day. Anyone who has tracked this over the last 22 years, can see how the industries profited from addiction, and the lies and misinformation the media amplifies.

    American is now the land of alternate facts. The government was able to track every opioid dose sold, yet due to industry influences and corruption, they could do nothing. This nation has had 22 years of lies, and misinformation, and it is continuing. Records like this will ensure that the addicted already stigmatized by the media, this administration, and the healthcare industry will continue to be denied healthcare, stigmatized or have their information end up in the wrong hands.

  • Opiate Settlement Monies: Lol. How about it goes to the very intractable pain patients living a life of sheer, agonizing, painful misery that well-known (intractable) injuries/disease is well-known to cause. That would be a GREAT start. And then to the genuine, SelfLESS, philanthropic Patient Advocacy Groups people that fight endlessly (without being paid a penny -in fact monies come out of their own pockets -for nothing more than to seek/gain rights and (vicious pain) relief) for the millions of patients who suffer so and cannot help themselves. Agency/advocacy groups such as A.T.I.P. (and similar).

    These genuine angels and the patients who have and continue to suffer shold be first given any financial “awards” derived from the unlawful prosecution of Pharmaceuticals who are simply responding/providing for pain relief medications/analgesia that citizens are in desperate need of !

    That private businesses must pay for the USA’s Failed War on Illegal Drug Use (i.e “Epidemic” is unlawful and a slap in the face of decency, honesty -and democracy itself.

    Pathetic. UGLY.

    peter jasz

    • The judicial system seems to disagree. Although i am against the rule for different reasons.

    • You are right. Of course no one mentioned the patients whose lives were ruined due to this misguided response to addiction. Withholding pain medication from patients, had no effect on the addiction problem, it appear it made it worse. The number of deaths and suicides increased, yet they refused to count them. They have had 22 years now, and are no closer to a solution to this problem. They have to protect the industries that are profiting. They also have to protect the marketers, and propagandists, who protected the industry while it profited.

      The pharma corporations told the media to attack and blame pain patients for the “addiction crisis.” This false narrative was designed to undermine healthcare, and mislead the public. They had a lot of help from academia too, they saw this as an opportunity to get funding and attention for their research. This is a country where they justify the deaths of diabetics, because they can’t afford insulin. They justify the deaths of people with pain, every day.

      One day they are going to look at this as Genocidal. This is the end result of an unregulated for profit healthcare industry.

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

Privacy Policy