Walgreens Lets My Ex-Husband Change My Account Information And View My Prescription History

Walgreens seems to think the “ex” in “ex-husband” is just a funny little arbitrary word that doesn’t mean much. Alice says she’s been divorced for three years, and separated for more than that, has moved twice and changed her phone number twice, and yet Walgreens still allows her ex-husband to change her account information to link with his.

Alice writes in to vent her frustration, as Walgreens keeps letting her ex get access to her account by changing the information. He can do this by giving her name and current address and other personal details, then update it with his address and phone number.

As a result, he can ask what medications I’ve had filled, which is a huge violation of my privacy.

I’ve asked Walgreens to put a note in my file that states that no one can change my account information but me, but this continues to happen. This is the third time in the past year.

I’ve moved my prescriptions to another pharmacy so he can’t see what I’m getting prescribed now, but there’s nothing to keep him from seeing my past prescription history.

I’ve sent an email to Walgreens corporate and have not received a response yet, but I think people need to be aware of this risk in divorce or other breakups. We know our significant other’s birthdates, addresses, phone numbers. Without stronger oversight from Walgreens, this could happen to anyone with an unscrupulous ex.

Obviously, I’m addressing this issue with ex via the lawyers, but I think Walgreens bears the responsibility of protecting our medical information.

Call it extreme, but using information that isn’t yours just to check up on someone is akin to identity theft. Providing personal details to a company under the guise of spousal consent in order to gain access to private information could cover everything from pharmacy accounts to credit cards, phone plans or even applying for loans.

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  1. Darrone says:

    Temporary Restraining Order…

    • jbandsma says:

      Not worth the paper they’re written on.

      • Darrone says:

        They don’t prevent problems, but they’re power is two-fold. 1-They tend to scare people who think they can skirt the law and annoy you without real violence. 2- If you have him going to your pharmacy, updating your information, even though he has a restraining order against him, a judge is going to look very poorly on that, and it shows a history of malfeasance.

        • dwtomek says:

          Plus the paper trail makes for an easier case to prosecute after they find her dessicated corpse in a ditch somewhere.

  2. tsukiotoshi says:

    Well with that sort of healthy adult behavior I can see why he’s an ex.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    first, I think what’s happening is messed up. It been through similar situation.

    1) Company follows policy, and make you jump through hoops to prove you are who you are and people complain.

    2) Company are flexible and stuff like this happen….

    I think people are screwed either way and the ex should be arrested for ID theft since he is basically telling walgreen he is OP.

    • GMFish says:

      Normally you’d be right, but in this instance her husband was able to access the account even after she specifically told Walgreens not to let anyone change it but her.

      • scottr0829 says:

        From a technical standpoint, I can’t imagine how they would implement that short of having to redesign the whole system to account for that.

        I’m not saying that’s how it shouldn’t be in the first place. It is a missed requirement that probably isn’t practical to implement short of enhancing the system (which should be done considering, I believe, this is a glaring HIPAA ciolation).

        • Avenger42 says:

          They can delete all her records from the system.

          • Doubting thomas says:

            Maybe not. IANAL or a Pharmacist, but I believe that pharmacies are required to keep detailed records of what drugs were dispensed to who.

            • ectreece says:

              Medical records retention laws vary greatly from 2 to 30 years depending on the type of record. Where pharmacy records fall I do not know. I hold records for a medical department in a hospital. One set is destroyed after 2 years. The second set of records is 30 years after the last time we see the person.

    • nicoleintrovert says:

      I work for a financial institution and people complain all the time about our safeguards for identification. The same people would be the loudest to complain if there was a breach or we gave out info to someone who was not to obtain it.

      I’ve made it a point to thank employees at different places of business who ask for identification.

      • zz9 says:

        The flip side is when a company calls me and then asks ME to answer lots of questions to prove who I am. They called me! I should be the one demanding they answer questions to prove to me that THEY are who they claim to be.
        I have made this point a few times to companies and they just don’t get it. How do I know they are actually my bank or phone company?

      • NCB says:

        +1 As a bank employee I always thank the clerk who asks for my ID for a credit card purchase.

    • Conformist138 says:

      I work in private security and this happens all the time. People complain when I make them show ID, sign a log, AND call a contact manager before providing access to their own offices if they forget their keys. My answer is always the same: “If you’re this mad now, imagine how angry you would be if we didn’t check and allowed a disgruntled ex-employee inside”. Works like a charm since they can never come up with a response.

  4. scoosdad says:

    If it were me I’d ask my attorney to contact Walgreens instead. There’s something about a phone message from a lawyer that gets their immediate attention.

    • Cat says:

      Phone message? NO, a letter from her attorney, cc: Walgreens legal department.

      Her attorney is going to charge her about the same for a phone call or a letter, she should choose the option that leaves a paper trail.

      • scoosdad says:

        I agree, but someone at least needs to call first to find out who their corporate legal contact is and how to best get in touch with them. That should start raising red flags at corporate, to say the least.

        Sending a letter blindly to “Walgreens Legal Department” sounds like another potential dead end avenue that may get ignored, and it’s not the way most attorneys would handle it anyway. I’m not a lawyer, but my brother is and I hear this stuff all the time. Sometimes you discover that the attorney for the other side is someone you know, and that greases the skids enormously.

        she should choose the option that leaves a paper trail

        Her attorney would be the best one to decide the way to approach this.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          “Her attorney would be the best one to decide the way to approach this.”

          Which would be in writing. A phone call can be ingnored “we never got a call” a letter, certified, can not.

          • bwcbwc says:

            And I’m sure her attorney will know how to look up the name of Walgreens’ general counsel or their registered agent. Either one will do.

            Definitely a HIPAA violation.But it looks like she has to file a complaint with Federal HHS rather than a direct action in court against Walgreens. Oh well.

    • carlathecommander says:

      Isn’t this a HIPPA violation?

    • Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

      Not all spouses, even current ones, have been authorized to see the other spouses HIPAA-covered information. Mine, for one. I have my reasons, but he is not authorized to see any of my medical records, nor to make medical decisions on my behalf.

      And, yeah, we’re still married.

  5. Costner says:

    The ex-husband needs to get a life… why does he even care? That said – I’m sure more than one crime was involved here not to mention HIPPA violations. Send the lawyers after him.

    • CanadianDominic says:

      Probably wants to know if shes buying birth control pills. That was my first thought about what a crazy ex might want to know about his former wife.

      • little stripes says:

        My thought, too. Or, they have kids and maybe she’s on depression or anxiety medication.

      • K-Bo says:

        I have an ex who found out his ex was pregnant when she filled a prescription for pre-natal vitamins at another location of the same store he worked for. He was already an ex at the point he told me this, and I made a mental note to never fill another prescription at that chain, because he apparently looks up ex’s in the system. Creepy

    • CarlR says:

      I’m thinking custody battle, disputes over child support or alimony payments, etc … or just because he’s an ass.

      • JiminyChristmas says:

        I was thinking child custody too. If you want to portray your ex as an “unfit parent” medical records would be pure gold. Antidepressants? Prescription painkillers? Anti-anxiety meds? A vindictive and persistent ex would think up a way to bring that stuff into court…while trying to hide how they know about it.

    • Sarahlara says:

      To a stalker, any information is interesting. Or maybe he just wants her to feel afraid or insecure and just gaining access to her personal information is enough to him.

    • Ed says:

      why not send the HIPPA police against Walgreens? Aren’t they the ones violating HIPPA regs, not the husband.

  6. wellfleet says:

    I hope Alice has contacted local law enforcement and, if possible, has served her ex-husband with a restraining order. Could this also be criminal stalking?
    Maybe Walgreens needs a letter from a lawyer threatening them with action. This is so dangerous on their part, and should be so easy to fix. In the U.S., one third of all women who are murdered are killed by an intimate partner. I hope that Alice’s ex-husband is just a major creep and not a potentially violent man.

  7. Rob says:

    Unfortunately your prescription and medical records are not as private as you may think. They are routinely data mined and sold.

    • unpolloloco says:

      but not with personally identifiable information to an ex…

      • bks33691 says:

        This is not the same as Rob’s implication that claims information is just sold by anyone to anyone. There are a lot of instances where someone with personal information could claims to be the original signee – it’s identity theft, not a problem with how healthcare information is handled in itself. He could have done this with bank information or anything else, the fact that it’s a pharmacy isn’t particularly relevant.

    • bks33691 says:

      Medical and pharmacy records are *exactly* as private as you think. Claims information that is sold is done so with the authorization of the plan sponsor (e.g. your employer, or the state if it is Medicare/Medicaid information) to an entity that is also covered by HIPAA and HITECH regulations. They are not just floating out there in the ethernet willy-nilly for anyone to buy and read.

      If you’re going try to scare people, use actual facts.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “… is sold is done so with the authorization of the plan sponsor (e.g. your employer…”

        There’s nothing like living in a country where your medical care is so intertwined with your employer. Two months ago, I had to turn over 10 years worth of medical history, records, and physician statements to HR, so they could put our plan out to bid.

        • Darsynia says:

          Yep, just went through that last month. My husband’s office has 15 people in it and I’m currently pregnant, and I’m pretty sure just the fact that I’m pregnant will alter their plan for the coming year, even though it’s only for a few more months. Really galling, I kind of feel guilty.

    • little stripes says:

      What does that have to do with this article?

  8. Bladerunner says:

    H to the I to the PAA… Once she’s specifically told them “don’t do that”, I’m pretty sure the violations become “willful”.

    • limbodog says:

      You are correct. HIPAA is very strict. And they’re on the hook for a lot of damage now. Once information is released, it can’t be un-released, so Walgreens really messed up. You’ve lawyered up, and that’s good, so no advice I have will trump that, but as a HIPAA cop here at an insurance company, I can pretty confidently say they effed up royally.

      Your ex should not be trying to access that info either, but I don’t know if he’s breaking a law.

      • sponica says:

        in states where you’re obligated to keep your ex on your health insurance after a divorce, he *might* be entitled to the information but I don’t think this is how you go about getting it…

        health insurance and privacy rules are interesting…it used to drive my mom bonkers when she had to jump through hoops to get my prescription info for her reimbursement paperwork. the pharmacy couldn’t give it to her, but they could mail it to the address on file with the insurance company (which happened to be her address)

        • sirwired says:

          No, you are NOT implicitly authorized to access the medical records of somebody else even if you are the “owner” of the insurance policy. If I went to my doctor’s office and demanded to see my wife’s medical file, they’d quite correctly tell me to #($*&#$! off.

          You can of course explicitly authorize somebody to access your records, but they are not entitled to them automatically.

          • sponica says:

            she never had a problem obtaining the prescription records, they just had to be sent in my name to the address on file with the pharmacy…

            maybe entitled was the wrong word…but the “i’m paying your health insurance and I need to be reimbursed for your pharmacy expenses” is the ONLY legitimate reason I can see for an ex to keep changing account information (although I highly doubt this is the scenario here)

  9. az123 says:

    Simple, call the police and report identity theft against your ex. It is not legal to do what he is doing and perhaps the police calling him up will get his attention

  10. Bog says:

    This appears it couls be a willful and/or knowing HIPAA violation. Walgreens as a company and its staff in their personal capacity could be sued civilly and prosecuted criminally, so can the Ex. The HIPAA violations can garner up to 10 years in the poky and up to a $1.5M fine. See 42 USC § 1320d-5. You can write to OCRComplant@hhs.gov. http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/ There are also identify theft and stalking laws.

    • Gorbachev says:

      I laugh.

      That’s what the law says. I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that nobody at Walgreens is going to jail over this.

      • Bog says:

        True, but the threat of that and an investigation will put a modicum of fear in to those people that will make them be quite careful for a while. In my current job, we always assume that the law will be enforced and penalties will be applied; and we believe in those restrictions, not only legally but ethically as the right thing to do. I’ve learned about the littlest things bring down agency ire that you would think that wouldn’t have been a big deal but in fact was an indicator of a systemic problem.

        • Phexerian says:

          A private citizen cannot file a claim under HIPAA. Only the federal government can. Walgreens may have violated state laws which they could be charged under but only the federal government may file an action under HIPAA.

          -A Pharmacist

      • sirwired says:

        The feds take HIPAA violations like this VERY seriously.

  11. consumeristjohnny says:

    Hw ds lc knw ths s hr x hsbnd? s h dmttng t? Wht s h dng wth th nfrmtn? Wh d y cr wht yr x knws bt mdctns y tk nyw? Ths s g y lt pt hs dck nsd y, bt y dnt wnt hm t knw mdctn y tk? Y mrrd hm. Yr bd chcs hv cnsqncs

    • Jubei says:

      2/10

      But you’ll still get bites.

    • little stripes says:

      I really hope you’re just a troll. If you’re not … you are clearly off your rocker and probably a stalker.

    • msbask says:

      This is a guy you let put his dick inside you

      Are you sure about that?

    • selianth says:

      “How does Alice know this is her ex husband?”

      Because, as the article says, he is updating the account with his address and phone number. For this type of trolling you should be reading the article first.

    • BobOki says:

      Disrespectful, vulgar, and just a troll.
      When did it become popular to put effort into trying to troll consumerist? Any way you look at it, you sir, are a failure.

      • little stripes says:

        That’s what gets me. It’s not like this is YouTube. People who troll like this, and in a place like this … with so much disgust and hate toward another person (I wonder if a man would have gotten this sort of troll response?) is just awful and honestly flabbergasting. Clearly this person is a troll, but I suspect he is a very unhappy person and a big douchebag in meatspace, just as he is online. There is no way a good, decent person would troll like this.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          I wonder if a man would have gotten this sort of troll response?

          Only on the internet, not in person I’m sure.

          • little stripes says:

            Are you sure about that? Think about it. If this was a man with a stalker ex-wife, the vitriol would most assuredly be directed at the woman (rightfully so), and I doubt anyone would troll-blame the husband for having a stalker wife. And the insults thrown at the woman would most likely be skewed heavily toward her sex/gender, rather than her actions.

            • The Porkchop Express says:

              Oh, I meant Johnny up there. He would never say this shit to anybody’s face.

              And you’re right about Johnny at least, he wouldn’t troll a man about this (probably). Others might though.

              • little stripes says:

                Oh there are trolls that will troll anyone for any reason. I actually think this is the kind of person who would probably troll anyone for any reason, being as nasty as they can, because they live such a sad, lonely existence (probably in their elderly parents’ basement), though he clearly also has some SERIOUS issues when it comes to women.

                • ovalseven says:

                  Well, he does swing the other way. He’s mentioned it in other comments here.

                • Dalsnsetters says:

                  Chck t cnsmrstjhnn’s cmmntng hstr. H s trll n vr. sngl. thrd. n cnsmrst. Hs cmmnts r lwys msgynst. H s pg. wsh wsh wsh th wld jst bn hm r smthng. [Disemvoweled, please report problem posts, not insult the poster. Thanks. - Roz]

    • Don't Bother says:

      Clearly, consumeristjohnny is the ex in question.

    • levelone says:

      Explain exactly why it matters whether they ever had sex or not? Maybe douchebag ex-husband pretended to be a nice guy when they first got married and it was only clear he was a whackjob later on.

      Don’t put his bullshit stalker behavior on the woman. He’s responsible for his own abusive stalker behavior. He’s breaking the law. It’s only her problem because he’s using it as a means to abuse her – it’s not her causing it to happen, jackass.

      • kobresia says:

        Not getting involved with the rest of the drama in this particular thread, but I think what consumeristjohnny meant by that is that after having been married for a while, it’s not like he doesn’t already know almost every intimate thing about her. The notion that you can just divorce and you magically regain all your privacy and it’s like you don’t even know the other person anymore and they don’t know anything about you is kind of silly. The ex quite possibly knows more about her medical history than her current physician. The “privacy” ship sailed a long time ago.

        That said, the dude’s a dick for changing her info. He probably knows more than just her current address, such as her SSN, and as long as he can rattle-off the last 4 of hers and confirm her address, he’ll continue to be able to get past the security questions and tamper with things.

        • little stripes says:

          You’re assuming that the husband already knew what medication she was taking. Or that he somehow was privy to medication she started taking AFTER their divorce. Or perhaps BEFORE they were married.

          Even when you’re married, you have a right to privacy, and no, husbands and wives are not just automatically allowed to get your medical information unless you give them permission. Getting married doesn’t automatically mean that your spouse suddenly has access to everything in your life. It doesn’t work that way.

          If I was married, I shouldn’t be able to walk in and get my spouse’s medical history without their permission.

        • Darsynia says:

          I’m sorry but this is akin to saying that if you’re married your wedding vows = blanket consent to sex whenever they want it, which isn’t true. You may choose to marry someone and sort out your own privacy issues while you’re married (I don’t expect to know EVERYTHING about my husband and nor does he expect to know EVERYTHING about me), but once you’re not married anymore, that ship actually HAS sailed. Life goes on, and it’s not his business what meds she’s on or is not on. I could totally see him trying to find out if she’s on birth control and jumping to conclusions, or seeing she’s on some sort of antidepressant and jumping to conclusions about that. There are all sorts of bad–erroneous or not–conclusions he could be drawing about her medical history that aren’t his business.

          On top of that even being married to someone doesn’t give a person blanket, unasked for access to every medical record of theirs unless there’s a crisis. I know my doctor’s office (different than a pharmacy, I know) won’t give my test results to my husband unless I sign a release form.

          • kobresia says:

            Yeah, so that’s not at all what I said. The fact is, and johnny was just crude about pointing it out, when people trust others with their private matters, it’s kind of hard to just reclaim it all. What you *should be able to do* and *reality* are two different things here. You can’t change your SSN easily (if at all), nor can you force someone who you shared it with to un-memorize it. Social engineering when you have that key to the kingdom is pretty easy, especially when the people you’re working on are not paid enough to give a shit.

            There’s a very real possibility that there is a release on file that she authorized him under, and Walgreens can’t make it go away due to some form of database management incompetence. Just like how my address was changed by the USPS a few years ago, and AT&T can’t seem to change it no matter how many times I call them, and apparently their billing system is in no way connected to the customer information I am able to edit in my profile, but that’s a different issue.

            I’m also not absolving Walgreens either, they honestly should get their act together, it’s just unsurprising that they are like most other companies and have an immense amount of difficulty untangling account info that was originally tied together by marriage, and having peons in the call center who care little beyond confirming the basic security questions that everyone knows are the keys to having your way with someone’s identity for the purposes of ID theft or tampering.

            On a related note, consolidated medical account ID numbers would probably be a good thing. They’d be a lot easier to change if someone needed to change access than the SSN that gets tied to everything else that isn’t so private. Just like people can do with credit cards when a wallet gets stolen.

    • Jawaka says:

      this response will generate rage.

    • theblackdog says:

      RTFA, her address and phone number gets changed to her ex’s address and phone number. why would anyone else do this except her ex?

    • Dalsnsetters says:

      D y vr RTF r d y jst rd n wrd pr prgrph nd thn ssm y knw wht th rtcl s bt? Y r n dt. Yr cmmnt hstr shws yr gnrnc nd yr trllng cpblts. rll wsh y wld jst g w. r gt yr md lvls djstd. Yh, tht mght b gd sltn, t. Bt y wld stll hv t g w.

    • anime_runs_my_life says:

      That’s not the point. The point is that it’s none of her now ex’s damned business what she does and what she takes. As long as he’s not contributing to her insurance or paying for her prescriptions, he has no right to get into her account, change her info and do anything that could potentially cause her harm.

      This is stalking, plain and simple and the sooner she gets a restraining order against the nutjob, the sooner she can get on with a normal life.

  12. Duke of URL says:

    So, for six years she’s been whining about this? Yet, she just keeps on going to Walgreens instead of changing pharma companies completely? Can you say mo-ron?

    • levelone says:

      RTFA, dumbshit.

    • little stripes says:

      Wow. It’s amazing to me that even with something like this, we’ve already had two people blame the fucking OP. RTFA. Here, I’ll make it easy for you:

      I’ve moved my prescriptions to another pharmacy so he can’t see what I’m getting prescribed now, but there’s nothing to keep him from seeing my past prescription history.

      Good Lord. Is it that hard to read, mo-ron?

      • Jawaka says:

        I don’t blame the OP for it happening but I blame the OP for allowing it to continue happening for two years.

        • little stripes says:

          Seriously? For “allowing” it to happen? Man, it astounds me that the OP can be blamed in this kind of thing. She did nothing wrong. The pharmacy and her ex-husband are at fault. Not the OP. Not even a little bit.

          • Costner says:

            Agreed. She did nothing to “allow” this to happen. In fact she took action to try to get it stopped, it isn’t like she should have to stop filling prescriptions to get out from under this idiocy.

            • little stripes says:

              And this kind of disruption to someone’s life is EXACTLY what a crazy stalker wants. They want to make your life difficult. Why should she be forced to move pharmacies because she has a stalker ex-husband? The pharmacy should have listened to her requests not to allow her ex to gain access to her account. Period. What if that pharmacy is the most convenient for her? What if she lives in an area where there aren’t all that many options? And not all prices at pharmacies are the same across the board, depending on the medication, your insurance (or lack of insurance), etc. I don’t have insurance so I go to a certain pharmacy because my birth control is generally cheaper there than at most other places; if I got a stalker ex who was doing this and was forced to move and pay more for my prescription, I’m now being punished because the pharmacy didn’t listen to my blatant requests not to allow him to have access to my information.

              The pharmacy should have listened to her requests. They should be punished here (and the ex), not the ex-wife who did nothing wrong.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      Not everyone has 100 pharmacies near them. Plus her insurance might only work in certain pharmacies. Since you don’t know, you really can’t judge.

      Plus, the point she makes is that her past prescriptions are still prey for her ex-husband, not just new ones. Changing pharmacies doesn’t do anything about that.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        true, my insurance requires me to use specific pharmacies. when i was hospitalized i couldn’t even get meds from the hospital pharmacy to take home with me on my insurance. i had to take a written prescription down the street to my plan specific pharmacy. since that pharmacy couldn’t fill it that day, the hospital had to keep me an extra day so they could get me my medication under my major medical coverage

        • little stripes says:

          I used to work for a warehouse for a major pharmacy company. We had nothing to do with the prescription side, but our health insurance and prescription benefits were very much tied to that pharmacy. I HAD to use that pharmacy for my prescriptions to be covered. If I didn’t use them, I had to pay out of pocket. According to many of these commenters, if that pharmacy allowed an ex to obtain my files, even after being explicitly told not to, I would be forced to move to another pharmacy, where my prescriptions were not covered, otherwise I would be “allowing” the stalking. Even though the ex is stalking and I did not allow him to do anything.

          Nice.

          • little stripes says:

            (I think there was a clause that said if I was in a location where that pharmacy didn’t exist, I could use another, but only if it wasn’t in a certain mile radius of my home or whatever. I don’t remember specifics. I just remember I was very, very tied to that pharmacy for prescriptions.)

  13. Bryan Price says:

    Unless they’ve got her signature in writing allowing him access, it’s a HIPAA violation. And that’s exactly what I would do, report Walgreen’s as a HIPAA violation.

    http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/index.html

    That might just solve the situation permanently.

    I routinely sign over the part that they can pass on information to my wife, but we’re a marriage in good standing.

    • mufdvr3669 says:

      It would also be a HIPPA violation for someones spouse to pick up their medication. Can you imagine, you have surgery and in pain. Your spouse drops off a prescription and tries to pick it up, guess what it’s held hostage now cause you are not the patient. Sorry, no med for the person sitting at home in pain. See how dumb HIPPA is.

  14. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Not blaming the OP here, but if he’s already SEEN the past script history, and he doesn’t see the current history, she can’t make him “unlearn” what he’s seen. So…yes, it’s a violation of privacy but I sort of see the damage as having been done – but his use of that information can be mitigated by getting this taken care of with your lawyers.

    Alice, I really do appreciate you giving us this heads up because it’s really good to know, but I’m not sure why the first time this happened, this wasn’t handled immediately by the authorities and your lawyer. Was it because you didn’t know you had recourse against it? Did you not think what he was doing was illegal? Did you engage authorities/lawyers 3 years ago and this STILL hasn’t been resolved?

    Just curious why this is taking this long to resolve.

    • little stripes says:

      “Not blaming the OP here, but “

      “Alice, I really do appreciate you giving us this heads up because it’s really good to know, but “

      Yeah, sure you’re not trying to blame the OP here.

      • dwtomek says:

        Not her fault that it happened. Her fault that she let it continue unmitigated for so long. How is this blaming the OP for her problem with Walgreens?

        • little stripes says:

          She did not allow it to happen. She allowed nothing to happen. She requested that Walgreens stop allowing him to access her account, and they said they would, but they lied. What if this was the most convenient pharmacy? What if her insurance doesn’t work with other pharmacies in the area? What if the price for her prescriptions are different at different pharmacies, which happens a lot if you don’t have insurance? Why should she be forced to change her life when she told the pharmacy to stop allowing someone else that is not her to have access to her information?

          People stalk because they want to disrupt life of the person they are stalking. They want to have power over that person. They want to frighten them. And look. he succeeded, and managed to interrupt her life, when all the pharmacy had to do was stop allowing him access!

          The pharmacy (and her ex) are at fault. Not the OP.

      • sadie kate says:

        Precisely. Whenever I see a sentence start with “I’m not victim-blaming, but …” or some similar-construction, I can generally be assured that some victim-blaming is going to follow.

    • We Have a Piper Down says:

      Because taking care of this legally will prevent him from using her medical history against her in court or any other venue. Even if the records themselves are inadmissible, a sleazy lawyer could drum up some doubt in a jury. Suing Walgreens and getting it on record that his knowledge was illegally obtained can help her win anything he can try to pin on her later.

  15. Snoofin says:

    Why do people care so much who knows what medicine they are taking or what health problems they have. I could care less if someone knows I have Spina Bifida or Shingles, or if I take blood pressure medicine. Everyone has some kind of problem. Its not like someone having access to your bank account.

    • little stripes says:

      “I could care less”

      So … you actually care, then?

      All grammar nazi assholeness aside, creepy, asshole, stalkers care. These people have issues and they aren’t normal like you or I. They feel entitled Or they are looking for revenge, or to shame. Or just annoy or anger.

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      OK, here’s a scenario for you. You’re suffering from glaucoma get a prescription for medical marijuana. It’s perfectly legal because that sort of thing is legal in your state, you have a prescription for it, and you’re following whatever state regulations there are. But you keep it quiet because you don’t think your family, friends, employer, etc. would understand.

      Next thing you know you’re fired from your job because they got an “anonymous tip” that you’re smoking pot, your friends have all heard that you’re a druggie, the police are investigating you and your family for drug possession, etc.

      That’s the sort of thing that people like this ex-husband are inclined to do. It’s all about power for them. The power for them to harass you and make things difficult/unpleasant for you.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      I don’t wnat you to know what I have and what I take though. It is a really simple idea that some of us want some of our lives to be kept private.

      I mean I don’t care if you have AIDS, I don’t want you to know if I have a health issue.

    • Costner says:

      Depends on what you might have. I imagine getting a prescription like Valtrex could have people talking if they knew. Prescriptions for birth control could cause others to judge the person even if it was being prescribed for an off-label use such as acne.

      What if you had a life threatening condition – if potential employers knew this it could harm your chances of getting hired. What about if an ex knew you were taking meds for a condition that is potentially fatal – could they try to use it against you in court proceedings? What if someone knew a guy was taking anti-depressants… would that change the way they thought about him? What about a guy taking Viagra – if the entire neighborhood knew, would some people look at him like he is a creep?

      There are thousands of reasons why this type of data is private and why it shouldn’t shared. I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of all of the possible scenarios and how someone could use it against another person. It is a big deal for many people.

      • kimmie says:

        In addition, with some government employers, you can lose your clearance with a known mental illness diagnosis.

    • aloria says:

      Some diseases carry quite a bit of social stigma. Would you want the whole world to know you had HIV? Schizophrenia? A really nasty rash on your bottom?

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Because it’s none of their goddamn business. Not everyone wants perfect strangers (or friends or coworkers) that they needed prescription hemorrhoid cream, or whatever.

    • Darsynia says:

      This comment is rife with privilege. Mental illness has a huge stigma in this country. So does female sexuality. You can’t think of ANY reason why someone who is divorced might not want an ex to know whether she’s on birth control, or if they share custody, is on Xanax for work-related flights or anxiety or nightmares or whatever?

  16. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    that’s one of the reasons the privacy policy at my job for our patients doesn’t extend to spouses unless you specifically send us written notice that it’s ok
    and whenever i talk to a patient who mentions a divorce i give them instructions on what to send us to have that permission to share with their spouses revoked. they often don’t even remember that they gave us permission to talk to their spouse several years ago and are stunned when they start thinking about all the places they’ve given permission to.

  17. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    True story: in getting a prescription refill a few months ago, Walgreens somehow managed to replace my phone number, email, address, and doctor with with some kind of potpourri of wrong values. The only thing they got right was the medication itself. I don’t have a very common name, and it’s not like they got old data from the doctor.

    I’ve stopped going to Walgreens.

  18. j2.718ff says:

    Call your local news station. This sounds like a clear HIPPA violation. If Walgreens won’t take care of it on their own, perhaps some news coverage can shame them into doing so.

    Another thought, the article says the ex can access the information by providing Alice’s name and current address. Since she’s no longer using Walgreens, could she change the address they have file to something completely different? Perhaps a friend’s, or family member’s address that her ex would not know.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      if she goes to the news, walgreens might show her medical records to the journalists

  19. roaster says:

    I had a problem with Walgreens showing me somebody else’s prescriptions online. Walgreen’s themselves had linked our accounts because we had the same name, even though the other person lives on the other side of the country.

  20. SisterMaryPollyEsther says:

    The two Walgreens I use won’t release any prescriptions or info to a family member unless they present their I. D. and the family member’s I.D. I assumed this was a company-wide policy. Maybe it is, but this pharmacy didn’t follow it. Given their reluctance to comply with Alice’s wishes, the threat of fines or loss of licensure seems to be the way to go. A complaint to the state regulatory agency might be the best avenue here. I wish I knew the state Alice lived in to give more specific contact info. She can start with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at http://www.nabp.net/

  21. mdoneil says:

    Complain to the state board of pharmacy.

  22. lilah says:

    Not surprised. A day or two before I got my wisdom teeth taken out I filled my Percocet prescription and all I had to do was give them my name. No ID, no other info. God forbid 2 people with the same name use the same pharmacy.

  23. mufdvr3669 says:

    If this particular walgreens store or stores were smart they could lock the patients profile into the specific stores that filled the rx’s. They could also put notes on her file but she wouldn’t be able to go to other stores if that is the case, but the patient did what was best and transferred her scripts to a hopefully small pharmacy that won’t do this crap anymore.

  24. cheezeit says:

    I’m wondering why this isn’t some how illegal. Maybe she should go after Walgreens on HIPPA violations. Is that even possible?

    • Phexerian says:

      No. Only the federal gov can file actions under HIPAA. She can only file actions for breaking state laws.

      -A Pharmacist

  25. cheezfri says:

    Too bad this story wasn’t merged with this one: http://consumerist.com/2012/01/chase-tries-to-do-me-a-favor-by-using-my-ex-husbands-account-to-pay-my-bill.html

    Then her ex would still have access to her rx records but at least he’d be paying for her meds with HIS credit card!!!

  26. 180CS says:

    Walgreen’s pharmacy is bound by HIPPA just as is a hospital. If you have any trouble with money to fight the ex, theres a lot to be made with a lawsuit/settlement with Walgreens.

  27. kimmie says:

    Does HIPAA apply here?