July 11, 2014 1:54 pm
Updated: July 11, 2014 10:53 pm

Patients contacted following privacy breach in B.C.’s prescription system

VANCOUVER – About 1,600 people have been affected by a privacy breach involving PharmaNet, the prescription medication dispensing information system.

Between March 9 and June 19, an unknown, unauthorized person used a doctor’s PharmaNet account to access the personal information of these patients.

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The privacy breach involved the names, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, and personal health numbers (BC Services Card or Care Card numbers) of all the affected people. For 34 people, the unauthorized access also involved looking at medication histories.

It did not allow the person to acquire fraudulent prescriptions.

While this privacy breach did not include banking information, enough information was accessed to be used for identity theft. Those affected are encouraged to keep a close eye on their bank accounts, credit cards, and online identity and services.

The Ministry of Health says on June 24 PharmaNet staff conducted a forensic audit after noticing suspicious activity on the system.

They, along with the B.C. government’s Office of the Chief Information Officer are now investigating.

All 1,600 people affected by this breach will be contacted by letter, beginning today. The letter will also contain a telephone number to contact if those affected have questions or concerns.

Anyone who is affected can contact their local pharmacy to put a keyword on their PharmaNet profile. They can also request, through Health Insurance BC, to prompt health professionals to ask for a second piece of ID when someone uses their personal health number.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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