February 15, 2017 10:49 pm
Updated: February 16, 2017 8:26 am

PharmaNet breach compromises personal medical info for about 7,500 people: province

WATCH: The B.C. government is admitting up to 7,500 people have had their personal information compromised after a security breach with the PharmaNet system. The NDP says the government isn't doing enough to protect British Columbians. Catherine Urquhart reports.

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Approximately 7,500 people have had their medical information compromised, B.C.’s Ministry of Health confirmed Wednesday night.

Letters were sent out at the beginning of February indicating that there was a breach to the PharmaNet system, the province-wide data system linking pharmacies. The system carries personal information for British Columbians such as their full names, addresses, CareCard numbers, and even medication history.

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A statement from the Ministry of Health said they became aware of “unusual PharmaNet activity” as early as last fall.

The ministry said they have begun to send letters to affected patients and doctors, notifying them of the breach and advising them of precautionary steps they can take to protect themselves from identify theft.

The ministry told Global News that Health Minister Terry Lake was not available to comment Wednesday night.

NDP MLA Doug Routley said the breach is symptomatic of the provincial government’s “lack of respect for access to information and privacy.”

“Once personal information is out there, you can’t unring the bell,” he added.

An investigation and an independent security review of PharmaNet are underway. Ministry staff said police have been notified.

In 2014, about 1,600 people were affected by a privacy breach involving PharmaNet.

– With files from Catherine Urquhart and Amy Judd

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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