Albertsons Selling Prescription Info??

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by luv2bsecure, Sep 16, 2004.

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  1. luv2bsecure

    luv2bsecure Infrequent Poster

    Feb 9, 2002
    I meant to post this the other day and I forgot.

    If this is true - it is indefensible:

    Albertsons accused of selling drug prescription information

    4:58 p.m. September 9, 2004

    SAN DIEGO – A consumer advocacy group has sued Albertsons Inc., alleging the supermarket chain sells prescription information to drug companies without alerting customers.

    Privacy Rights Clearinghouse accuses Albertsons and its pharmacy units – SavOn Drug Stores, Osco Drug and Jewel Osco – of sharing customer names, addresses, phone numbers and prescribed medications. That information is allegedly used to solicit customers by mail or over the phone.

    The suit was filed without fanfare in May in San Diego Superior Court and announced by the San Diego-based consumer group on Thursday. It asks that Albertsons end the alleged practice and seeks unspecified monetary damages for unfair business practices and deceptive advertising.

    Albertsons denied the allegations.

    "We highly value and respect the privacy of our pharmacy customers and do not sell, nor have we ever sold, their private information," said Karen Ramos, a company spokeswoman. "We consider the allegations in this complaint to be false and totally without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves."

    The suit also names 18 drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Eli Lilly & Co., Merck & Co., Novartis AG, Wyeth Corp. and AstraZeneca PLC.

    Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says drug makers used the information to urge customers to renew prescriptions or switch to other medications. One example cited in the lawsuit alleged that Albertsons worked with AstraZeneca to persuade customers to buy Nexium when the drug company's patent expired on another heartburn medication.

    According to the suit, drug companies either prepare or approve the sales pitches, which are carried out by Albertsons or a direct marketing company. Albertsons gets between $3 and $4.50 for each letter sent to customers and between $12 and $15 for each phone call, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said in a statement.

    Drug companies pay Albertsons "millions of dollars" a year for the service, the group said.

    The arrangement "allows Albertsons to, essentially, get a kickback for secretly trading its control of consumers' confidential medical information," the suit states. "Albertsons never discloses the Drug Marketing Program to its customers and proceeds ... without customer knowledge, authorization or consent."

    Albertsons, based in Boise, Idaho, says its 2,000 pharmacies in the United States fill more than 130 million prescriptions a year.
  2. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

    Nov 6, 2002
    Brooklyn/NYC USA
    Sometimes I feel like all our personal information swirls in a pool that is not so much like a steel vat, but more like a leaking sieve. :rolleyes: It seems we can only slow the leaking, but not stop it. Makes me a bit sad when I ponder what the future of privacy and civil liberties will be like.

    Thanks for the info, luv2bsecure.
  3. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

    Sep 21, 2002
  4. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

    Jul 21, 2003
    This is sad. Not unexpected though. In addition, you have to pay through the nose for the medication.
  5. steverio

    steverio Registered Member

    Jun 25, 2004
    This kind of thing is not surprising to me. Follow the money and power... they have always been contagious. Businesses do try to profit from drug sales although there are potential downsides that affects the public in some way. It's really a shame that it can include our privacy.

    Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars to convince the physicians and others that their medicine is going to help you. Acquiring expensive patent protection for drugs provides these pharmaceutical companies a chance to get as close to a monopoly as they can. This all pays off and brings huge monetary rewards.

    The government looks to the AMA, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to establish drug prescriptions. It's an authoritative power and all together a big business all around. The legal battles will continue.
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