Patient data exposed after Walmart pharmacy break-ins

Walmart is notifying patients who use its pharmacy services about recent data incidents that exposed their private information.

Some Walmart pharmacies were recently affected by "widespread civil unrest," Will Center, director of health and wellness HIPAA compliance at Walmart, wrote in a letter to individuals affected by the breach. Walmart did not release the number of people who received these letters.

During the incidents, individuals broke into Walmart's secured pharmacies by breaking physical barriers in the store and stole medications and other materials, which included patient information printed on packages, labels and other related documents. Patient data exposed during the incidents included names, addresses, phone numbers, medication names and strengths, prescription numbers and names, and fill dates.

"We sent this letter out of an abundance of caution. The intruders primarily stole prescriptions ready for pickup, which are medications labeled with patient name and medication information," Walmart said in a July 23 emailed statement to Becker's. "It is our understanding these intruders were not targeting medical paperwork, electronic devices, data or patient files."

Walmart has not received any reports that indicate the information has been misused, and it is continuing to review the situation and cooperate with law enforcement, according to Mr. Center's letter.

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