Sunday, February 03, 2008

"Kudos to Rx Canada?"

What is the (Next) Message?: Kudos to Rx Canada

It would seem that there may be a happy ending brewing at the user end of prescription information provided in one known breach of customer privacy by Shoppers Drug Mart.

This is a story of the power of one, in the Web 2.0 world. The MSM appears unawares, unwilling to break or notice the "story."

Its not yet a happy ending because what was stated by RX Canada as posted by Mark Federman, was exactly what one would have expected it to state under our Privacy Laws. The follow through of Shoppers Drug Mart will be critical as the supplier of the information likely for the money paid by RX Canada.

RX Canada is getting off light here as its systems appear weak to detect actual consent, putting itself in the position of only being able to blame others for any failings. Mark appears not the complainer I would be if this had happened to me (maybe it has and I don't know it yet ...).

Shoppers Drug Mart appears to be the loser here but its side is unknown so far, hearsay dependent on the continuing actions of RX Canada to put forth necessary changes. It might be dependent on interpretation and spin, its failing to put into a system a routine that shares prescription information only on the written consent of the customer, a flag set perhaps too easily, likely right beside incentives for more information than less.

The privacy infringed to date, may also 'read' Shoppers Drug Mart when seeing RX Canada, in the mailing, thinking it is the same company since Mark is the first and only(?) person known to be affected. No red flag, and no problem.

Mark Federman was not so slighted in his observations, taking action against what he felt, and what anyone else would feel as a gross invasion of privacy (Read his original post). Others might have been merely disgusted or annoyed but powerless lacking the Web 2.0 power to do something about it. Mark should earn at least a "Canadian Privacy Pin" with his work picked up by a person from another country, wishing his country had laws like Canada does. Canada is not ranked Number 1 in the world for nothing!!

I note the fine print of the Optimum program might also cause grief as the monitoring of purchases using that card may also include prescription information, that is easily cross referenced to the contents of the prescription by information systems (is the Rx information system linked in any way to the Optimum card system? Does anyone know? It is not stated). A patient getting say a Rx for Viagra and buying a case of condoms, might indicate the positioning of those condoms close to the Pharmacist as appropriate. The condoms are pretty close to the Pharmacist counter in most stores. It is not an accidental placement. Nothing is accidental in a well managed store, with retail placement also being "for sale" to the highest bidder as well.

Optional segue: maybe seeing eye dog collars should be close to the Pharmacist too, from the example above: taking Viagra (and the like) has a side effect in some cases, that may not be that rare. Apparently 1 in 10,000 people have a risk to have sudden permanent blindness, a threat to their vision, that is a very unkind side effect to a night of frolic for the erectile dysfunctioned. If the pharmacist could confirm the Rx holder has had an opthamologists' examination, maybe the frolic would be less of a gamble. Likely if this would be expected, perhaps the liability of the Pharmacist could be added to the malpractice of the prescribing Dr. Oops, Canadians don't sue their doctors, too often ...

Stay tuned. This is not yet over. Mark is happier clearly. But Shoppers Drug Mart itself has not responded to him, and the letters he said he was going to write, have not had their response noted.

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