Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Note: The following letters were written by a customer of the Rite Aid Pharmacy about its marketing practices. They were shared with the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and permission was granted to post them here. Rite Aid has recently been the subject of several media reports about its aggressive marketing of pharmaceutical products and other consumer-unfriendly practices, including selling date-sensitive products well past the due dates. Rite-Aid is the largest pharmacy chain in California. It has recently been investigated by government regulators in California, Washington, and Oregon.
California Department of Consumer Affairs
Board of Pharmacy
400 R Street., Ste 4070
Sacramento, CA 95814
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing to complain about Rite Aid Pharmacy. Recently, Rite Aid sent me a letter, sponsored by a pharmaceutical manufacturer, to "remind" me to refill a particular prescription medication that I am taking. Shortly thereafter, someone at our local Rite Aid called my husband to "remind" him to refill a particular prescription medication that he is taking. They told my husband that they could have his prescription ready and waiting for him.
I feel that Rite Aid is using my family's private medical information -- our prescription records -- to aggressively market prescription medications on behalf of themselves and pharmaceutical manufacturers. I find this to be an egregious invasion of my privacy and am concerned that Rite Aid may be violating laws in California regarding my medical records privacy. At the very least, I consider this to be unprofessional conduct.
Rite Aid should be filling prescriptions upon the request of an individual and his or her physician, not upon the request of the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Senator Liz Figueroa
California State Senate
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Senator Figueroa:
A few weeks ago, Rite Aid pharmacy mailed me a reminder to refill a particular prescription medication. Rite Aid wrote that the mailing was sponsored by the drug manufacturer. I didn't think much of it, until the other morning, when my husband received a phone call from Rite Aid soliciting him to refill his prescription. We are rather appalled that Rite Aid has become this aggressive in marketing its prescription medications. Beyond that we're concerned about the privacy implications: Are our prescriptions considered medical records, and as such, have some presumption of confidentiality attached? Are there any laws that Rite Aid is violating?
If it is perfectly legal for Rite Aid and other pharmacies to use prescription information to push prescription refills on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies, I am extremely concerned. I find it to be an egregious lack of respect for my privacy, and I would urge you to work towards legislation that would make this sort of practice illegal.
Pharmacies should be filling prescriptions upon the request of an individual and his or her physician, not upon the request of the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
Enclosed you will also find a copy of my letter to the California Board of Consumer Affairs, Board of Pharmacy, for your review. I am also sending a letter to Assemblyperson Susan Davis. I have also written to my local Rite Aid and to Rite Aid corporate headquarters. Please also let me know if I should write to anyone else about this.
As a victim of identity fraud, I have a heightened awareness of consumer privacy. I appreciate your attention towards making consumer privacy -- the privacy of citizens -- a priority during your term. Please contact me if you have any questions.