Pharmacy staff took my personal information to find me on Facebook...

by Kelly
(Toms River, NJ)

I was at a pharmacy drive-up window that I have been going to for years, and picked up my prescription without issue. Several hours later, the person that rang up my transaction and gave me my medication at pickup contacted me on Facebook, without my permission, without me actually knowing him.

He said at one point we were friends, and that I was on his Facebook friends list, but that is untrue. We do not have any mutual friends on or off of the internet. He insisted we know each other, and did this to "get to know each other better."

He also stated I came into his job earlier that evening, which is how I definitely know it was him (other than verifying through his Facebook profile photo). I contacted the pharmacy in regards to this situation, but I still feel unsafe.

This person obviously has access to all of my personal information, including my home address! Is this grounds for lawsuit, or just discipline through the pharmacy? Is there anything I can do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Pharmacy staff took my personal information to find me on Facebook...":

Kelly (Toms River, NJ):

While the actions of the employee appear entirely inappropriate, there doesn't seem to be any legal grounds either for a lawsuit or for a violation of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). For there to be grounds for a lawsuit, the actions of the employee would have had to result in damages to you, including defamation, personal injury, or unwarranted financial hardship.

For there to be a violation of HIPAA, the pharmacy, by and through its employee, would have had to intentionally or recklessly disseminated your personal medical information electronically to third parties. From the facts you present, there doesn't seem to be evidence of such a HIPAA violation.

It would be difficult to believe the pharmacy would not discipline the employee. Under the circumstances, contacting you on Facebook was an uncomfortable, but not illegal invasion of your privacy. If the behavior continues and you believe it constitutes a legitimate threat, you may be able to file harassment charges against the employee.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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Similar Pharmacy HIPAA Issue...
by: Anonymous

My ex-boyfriend recently blurted out that he wanted to know if I had a certain medical condition. He claimed he saw a prescription of mine one day and he made an assumption as to what it was for.

His Jargon was very medically specific, which based on my prescriptions struck me as odd. It was very upsetting to me but the more upsetting is the fact that recently he revealed to me a friend of his is a pharmacy technician at Walmart.

I have a very ugly feeling that he told her my prescriptions to ask questions and as I have previously used this pharmacy she may have accessed my medical prescription history.

I don't know if I should report a possible HIPAA violation and have it investigated. I know because of EMR that every move made is traceable.

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