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Calif. Supreme Court To Mull Privacy, Access Rules for Rx Monitoring Database

Ben Fenton was heavily quoted in Joe Infantino’s iHealthBeat article “Calif. Supreme Court To Mull Privacy, Access Rules for Rx Monitoring Database,” which previews the Fenton Jurkowitz Law Group case “Lewis v. The Superior Court of California.”

The issues presented in Lewis v. The Superior Court of California are:

1. Whether the Medical Board of California (′′Medical Board′′ or ′′Board′′) is permitted, pursuant to the State constitutional right to privacy, to conduct a warrantless and unfettered search of records of prescriptions for both controlled and non-controlled substances for hundreds of patients, initiated by the state’s computerized Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) and followed up by general pharmacy audits, regardless of the nature of the patient complaint(s) involved? Petitioner Alwin Carl Lewis, M.D., contends that the applicable legal standard is that the State must show a ′′compelling state interest′′ to justify such an intrusion into the constitutional privacy right, and that, under this standard, the blanket, warrantless searches conducted herein were not sufficiently narrowly tailored.

2. Whether Fourth Amendment privacy rights under the federal constitution, which do not require balancing [*2] of interests, may be asserted by a physician with respect to patient prescription records.

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