The pharmacist directors of online pharmacy company Pharmacy2U have been referred to a General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) fitness-to-practise hearing over allegations relating to the sale of patient data.
The GPhC’s investigating committee decided to refer commercial director Julian Harrison and managing director Daniel Lee after Pharmacy2U was fined £130,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for selling patient data to marketing companies.
Harrison is alleged to have authorised the sale of patient data to third parties, while Lee is alleged to have failed to ensure robust procedures were in place on the company’s website that would have allowed patients to provide informed consent to the use of their data.
The ICO — the independent UK organisation that upholds information rights and promotes data privacy for individuals — imposed its fine in October 2015 following an investigation. More than 100,000 customer details were advertised for sale by Pharmacy2U, at a cost of £130 per 1,000 records. The database was advertised as including people with a range of conditions such as asthma, Parkinson’s disease and erectile dysfunction, and a breakdown of the data was available.
The ICO found that the Leeds-based company had breached the Data Protection Act for failing to inform customers that their personal details were being sold and for failing to seek their consent.
The pharmacists will face the GPhC’s fitness to practise committee on 23–25 May 2016.
- This article was amended on 7 April 2016 to correct an inaccuracy. The pharmacists will face the GPhC’s fitness to practise committee, not the investigating committee as originally stated.