Information and Privacy Commissioner Releases Report into Pharmacy Information Collection Practices

February 13, 2006

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has determined that a pharmacist is authorized to collect health information from an individual under the Health Information Act (HIA).

The Office was asked to investigate after an individual was unable to purchase insulin because he refused to provide a pharmacist with personal information.

The investigation established the collection of the prospective purchaser’s name, address, date of birth, phone number and other relevant information pertaining to any allergies or medical conditions, by a pharmacist is permitted under the Health Information Act.

However, Commissioner Frank Work wants pharmacists to consider what information they need to collect. “Pharmacists should make sure they actually need the information, and then determine if that information has to be recorded. If there is a need to record the information, the pharmacist must ensure the security and privacy of that information”.

At issue are so called Schedule Two drugs which do not require a prescription but are held behind the counter.