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Gore v. State (4th District Court of Appeals, November 16th, 2011)

Facts: Police had reason to believe that Defendant was committing the crime of withholding information from a physician and gathering large amounts of prescription.  This is commonly known as doctor shopping.  The Police then went to various pharmacies, pulled patient's profiles and, from those patients' profiles, they find out who the prescribing doctors are. The Police then go to the prescribing doctors, and speaks with them without any subpoena or search warrant being issued. The conversations include whether or not Defendant had disclosed previous prescriptions to the doctor. The officer also pulled and reviewed various patient documents.  The Defense filed a Motion to Suppress all medical records, which the Trial Court Denied.
On appeal the 4th District Court of Appeals concluded that the police may secure pharmacy records of Chapter 893 controlled substances pursuant to a criminal investigation, but not pharmacy records of all prescriptions. There is some expectation of privacy in pharmacy records. The police may obtain the permitted records without obtaining a warrant or a subpoena. Doctors' names appear on all prescription records; hence, the police may secure doctors' names on Chapter 893 pharmacy prescription records, as well, without a warrant or a subpoena.
The Appeals Court also said that the trial court erred by denying Defendant's motion to suppress his medical records and physician's statements, which police obtained without a subpoena or Defendant's authorization. Medical records and physician's statements are protected by the statutory physician-patient privilege, and therefore, the State was required to get either a subpoena with court approval or prior notice to and authorization from Defendant. See §§ 456.057(6) & (7)(a), Fla. Stat.
Therefore, all the records were suppressed.