I choose a pharmacy based on (a) location, and (b) store hours. However, now that I know more about identity theft and data breaches, I think I’m going to do more research on the pharmacy we’ve been using for the last couple years.
I’m going to start by looking into the dumpster out back of the store.
CVS Caremark Corp. was made to pay a $2.25 million fine in February after an investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Trade Commission discovered their widespread practice of casually dumping sensitive information in open dumpsters, a violation of HIPPA regulations.
The found information included pill bottles with customer info on the labels, credit card and insurance account information, employment applications and payroll records.
The investigation was instigated by an investigation by WTHR TV in Indianapolis. Their nationwide research revealed Walgreen is as bad if not worse. Besides carelessly tossing customer info into a open dumpsters, a Walgreen in Creve Coeur, MO was found to be storing hundreds of prescription records in an unlocked file cabinet in a women’s restroom.
A peek into the dumpsters behind Rite Aid stores revealed the same disregard for their customers’ personal privacy.
Independent pharmacies are also clueless about protecting private information. Just this week the Indiana attorney general’s office reached a settlement with Low Cost Pharmacy in Indianapolis for dumping personal info in an unsecured dumpster.
Just one bag of trash found behind Tucker Pharmacy contained 732 patient records, some of them financial, others deeply personal. For instance a WTHR investigative reporter discovered that “Jose takes medication for athlete’s foot. James has a prescription to deal with his constipation. Lily’s lotion is for scabies. And Donald takes pills for schizophrenia.”
Think about it: What prescriptions do you take, and who do you want to know?