The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will review the membership of any RPS members found guilty of wrongdoing or who have been the subject of a complaint.
The RPS issued a statement in response to an investigation carried out by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which found that the UK’s largest NHS-approved online pharmacy company, Pharmacy2U, had been selling patient data to marketing companies.
Pharmacy2U was fined £130,000 after the ICO found that the company had breached the Data Protection Act by selling details of more than 20,000 of its customers without their consent. One of the companies to buy the data, an Australian lottery company, was found to have used the information to deliberately target the elderly and vulnerable.
“Patients should be assured that pharmacists abide by the same strict laws of data protection and patient confidentiality as all health professionals,” says RPS president Ash Soni. “This case does not reflect the wider profession who, in our view, take the protection of patient data extremely seriously. We are pleased the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is also investigating this case, recognising the rightful concerns of patients and the public.
“The RPS will be reviewing the membership of any members who have been found guilty of wrongdoing or are subject of a complaint through our membership committee.”
Pharmacy2U has issued a “sincere apology” for its actions and confirms that it has stopped the selling of confidential data and that the information passed on has been destroyed.