Pharmacy simplifies its consent policy and procedures

Settled case summary #2

Complaint

An individual complained that a pharmacy required that he sign a consent form that authorized overly broad disclosure practices before it would provide him with his medication. He was concerned that his personal information was being disclosed for marketing purposes, in addition to medical ones, but was worried that he would not be able to obtain the medications he regularly required if he refused consent.

Outcome

Our Office clarified with the company, a chain of pharmacies, that it does not, in fact, disclose the personal information of its customers to other organizations for secondary marketing purposes. The company had in fact, received a number of complaints from its customers about the consent form. It decided to change the language of the consent form, making it simpler and easier to understand. It also implemented a new policy and practice whereby clients who are uncomfortable with signing a consent form can verbally indicate their acceptance of the company's privacy practices, as explained to them by the pharmacist.

The complainant was pleased with this result.

The complaint was settled during the course of the investigation in October 2004.

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