Major pharmacy leaks customer data

Major pharmacy leaks customer data

Out of all your personal information that could be potentially exposed, it’s probably your medical history that you would least want to be public knowledge. After all, your medical information is the most personal information you have. It’s so personal, in fact, that Congress passed a monumental law back in 1996 to better protect patient privacy. That law was the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA. The government has been known to level heavy fines against medical providers when patient privacy has been. One of the nation’s leading pharmacies may now be getting ready to be on the receiving end of one of those record fines.

Walgreens recently announced that their mobile app had a flaw that could have potentially exposed customer’s names along with the medication they’re taking and other health-related information. According to Walgreens

The bug allowed “a small percentage of impacted customers” to view one or more personal messages containing limited health-related info of other app users “between January 9, 2020, and January 15, 2020.”

However, they say that no customers’ financial information has been released. That’s not to say that medical information can’t be used for nefarious purposes. In the past, medical information that was made public has been used to blackmail people.

Walgreens is said to be sending letters to those affected in the breach but they have also been quiet on the number of customers who have been affected. This isn’t the first time Walgreens has run afoul of HIPAA. In 2013, they were fined $1.4 million when a pharmacist inappropriately shared a customer’s medical data. Imagine how much the fine could potentially be now with a nationwide breach.

Unfortunately, there’s not much a patient can do once their medical information is out in the wild. At best, they can sue the medical provider for damages but once medical information falls into the wrong hands it’s out there for good.