HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
BEFORE THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 5, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to HR 3015, the National All
Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act. This bill is yet
another unjustifiable attempt by the federal government to use the
war on drugs as an excuse for invading the privacy and liberties of
the American people and for expanding the federal government's
disastrous micromanagement of medical care. As a physician with over
30 years experience in private practice, I must oppose this bill due
to the danger it poses to our health as well as our liberty.
By creating a national database of prescriptions for controlled
substances, the federal government would take another step forward in
the war on pain patients and their doctors. This war has already
resulted in the harassment and prosecution of many doctors, and their
staff members, whose only "crime" is prescribing legal medication,
including opioids, to relieve their patients' pain. These
prosecutions, in turn, have scared other doctors so that they are
unwilling to prescribe an adequate amount of pain medication, or even
any pain medication, for their suffering patients.
Doctors and their staffs may even be prosecuted because of a patient's
actions that no doctor approved or even knew about. A doctor has no
way of controlling if a patient gives some of the prescribed
medication away or consumes a prescribed drug in a dangerous
combination with illegal drugs or other prescription drugs obtained
from another source. Nonetheless, doctors can be subjected to
prosecution when a patient takes such actions.
Applying to doctors laws intended to deal with drug kingpins, the
government has created the illusion of some success in the war on
drugs. Investigating drug dealers can be hard and dangerous work. In
comparison, it is much easier to shut down medical practices and
prosecute doctors who prescribe pain medication.
A doctor who is willing to treat chronic pain patients with medically
justified amounts of controlled substances may appear at first look
to be excessively prescribing. Because so few doctors are willing to
take the drug war prosecution risks associated with treating chronic
pain patients, and because chronic pain patients must often consume
significant doses of pain medication to obtain relief, the
prosecution of one pain doctor can be heralded as a large success.
All the government needs to do is point to the large amount of
patients and drugs associated with a medical practice.
Once doctors know that there is a national database of controlled
substances prescriptions that overzealous law enforcement will be
scrutinizing to harass doctors, there may be no doctors left who are
willing to treat chronic pain. Instead of creating a national
database, we should be returning medical regulation to local control,
where it historically and constitutionally belongs. Instead of drug
warriors regulating medicine with an eye to maximizing prosecutions,
we should return to state medical boards and state civil courts
review that looks to science-based standards of medical care and
patients' best interests.
HR 3015 also threatens patients' privacy. A patient's medical records
should be treated according to the mutual agreement of the patient and
doctor. In contrast, HR 3015 will put a patient's prescriptions on a
government-mandated database that can be accessed without the
Instead of further eroding our medical privacy, Congress should take
steps to protect it. Why should someone be prevented from denying the
government and third parties access to his medical records without
his permission or a warrant?
One way the House can act to protect patients' privacy is by enacting
my Patient Privacy Act (HR 1699) that repeals the provision of
federal law establishing a medical ID for every American. Under the
guise of "protecting privacy," the Health and Human Services' so-
called "medical privacy" regulations allow medical researchers,
insurance agents, and government officials access to your personal
medical records--without your consent! Congress should act now to
reverse this government-imposed invasion of our medical privacy.
Please join me in opposing HR 3015-legislation that, if enacted, will
make us less free and less healthy.