Revised: September 27, 2004
Some patients who get their prescriptions filled through supermarket pharmacies and chain drug stores such as Albertson's, Walgreens, RiteAid, SavOn and CVS may be surprised to get a solicitation in the mail that looks like a friendly reminder to refill their prescription. The solicitation might also suggest that they try a different brand of the same medication.
Why are consumers receiving these solicitations from pharmacies? Because pharmacies allow pharmaceutical companies to ghost write solicitations that the pharmacies then charge them for sending to (or at times placing a phone call to) relevant customers. And the pharmacies make more money selling the more expensive drugs the pharmaceutical companies are recommending.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is concerned that this practice violates the laws of many states where medical information is supposed to be held in confidence and not used for marketing purposes. If you've received a solicitation in the mail or a phone call from your pharmacy or a marketer working on behalf of the pharmacy suggesting that you switch to another brand of drug or that you talk to your doctor about a refill, please let us know.