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Data protection

Well Pharmacy apologises after leaking personal information in data breach

The Well Pharmacy has chain blamed ‘human error’ following a data breach, and has launched a full investigation. 

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The personal data of thousands of employees were leaked after a document was accidentally attached to an email and sent externally

Well Pharmacy, the UK’s largest independent pharmacy chain, has apologised after sending out the identifiable personal data of over 24,000 employees in an email last week.

The email, which was sent to a number of locums, included a document containing the name, address, phone number, email address and payroll number of 24,099 Well Pharmacy employees and locums.

The company told The Pharmaceutical Journal that, although the email was recalled immediately, the information may still be at risk of being shared.

Chris Ellett, senior information risk owner for Well Pharmacy, said: “Due to human error, a document containing personal identifiable data was sent to a number of locums on 11 December 2018.

“The email was recalled immediately. However, certain information may be at risk of being shared, including the name, address, phone number, email address and payroll number of some employees and locums.”

He added that the company has “established that the details of 24,099 individuals were included in the document” and it has “launched a full investigation” as a result.

He continued: “The Information Commissioner’s Office has been informed and we will act immediately on any advice they provide.

“We’re sorry this has happened and have already implemented a number of changes to our processes to ensure that a similar incident does not occur again in the future.”

Paul Day, national officer of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union, said: “We have been advised by Well that they are taking this incident very seriously and they have already reported it to the Information Commissioner’s Office, and will be contacting all those involved.

“It’s right that a full investigation is underway and that steps are being taken to prevent repetition.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205935

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