South Carolina Legislature

1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Updated through the end of the 2006 Regular Session


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Title 44 - Health


SECTION 44-117-10. Short title.

This chapter may be cited as the "Prescription Information Privacy Act".

SECTION 44-117-20. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Patient prescription drug information" means data that is conveyed by or on behalf of a practitioner in ordering a prescription drug or device before being dispensed and that identifies the patient as the recipient of the prescription drug or device. The term also includes any data concerning the dispensing of a drug or device that identifies a patient as having been the recipient of a prescription drug or device, whether this data is held by a practitioner, pharmacy, or another entity.

(2) "Practitioner" means a licensed health care professional authorized under state law to order a prescription drug or device.

(3) "Prescription drug or device" means a drug or device that is dispensed pursuant to the order of a practitioner.

SECTION 44-117-30. Prescription drug information transfer and receipt; exceptions.

No patient prescription drug information may be transferred or received by a person without the written consent of the patient or a person authorized by law to act on behalf of the patient. However, this prohibition does not apply to:

(1) the lawful transmission of a prescription drug order in accordance with all state and federal laws pertaining to the practice of pharmacy.

(2) communications among licensed practitioners, licensed pharmacists, and other health care professionals who provide or have provided medical or therapeutic treatment, pharmacy service, or medical or therapeutic consultation service for the person who received the drug or device;

(3) information gained as a result of a person requesting informational material from a prescription drug or device manufacturer or vendor;

(4) information necessary to effect the recall of a defective drug or device or other information necessary to protect the health and welfare of an individual or the public generally;

(5) information whereby the release or transfer is mandated by other state or federal laws, court order, or subpoena, or regulations including, but not limited to, accreditation or licensure requirements;

(6) information necessary to adjudicate or process payment claims for health care, whether under a health insurance benefits program or other payment system, if the recipient makes no other use or further disclosure of the information;

(7) information voluntarily disclosed by a patient to entities outside of the provider-patient relationship;

(8) information used in clinical research monitored by an institutional review board;

(9) information which does not identify patients by name, or that is encoded in a manner that information identifying a particular patient by name or address is not generally obtainable, and that is used for epidemiological studies, research, statistical analysis, medical outcomes, or pharmacoeconomic research;

(10) information transferred in connection with the sale of a business or medical practice to a successor in interest;

(11) information necessary to disclose to third parties in order to perform quality assurance programs, medical records review, internal audits, medical records maintenance, or similar programs, if the third party makes no other use or further disclosure of the information;

(12) information that may be revealed to a party who, on behalf of the patient, obtains a dispensed prescription from a pharmacy;

(13) information necessary to disclose to third parties in order for a health plan licensed by the South Carolina Department of Insurance to perform case management, utilization management, and disease management for individuals enrolled in that health plan, if the third party makes no other use or further disclosure of the information.

SECTION 44-117-40. Violations and penalties.

An individual or entity, corporate or otherwise, who knowingly violates a provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than ten thousand dollars per occurrence.

SECTION 44-117-50. Application; certain laws and authority not invalidated.

This chapter does not invalidate:

(a) any other provision of law concerning medical records or patient prescription drug information, the alteration of medical records or patient prescription drug information, any interest a patient has in the information contained within the medical record or patient prescription drug information, or any civil action brought in the state or federal courts alleging negligence by a practitioner or pharmacist;

(b) the authority of a court to issue a subpoena for medical records and patient prescription drug information;

(c) the authority of a licensing or disciplinary board of this State to obtain these records as provided by law; or

(d) the authority of the Department of Health and Environmental Control to obtain medical records or patient prescription drug information as provided by state and federal law.

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