The nation’s largest pharmacy chains have handed over Americans’ prescription records to police and government investigators without a warrant, a congressional investigation found, raising concerns about threats to medical privacy.
Though some of the chains require their lawyers to review law enforcement requests, three of the largest — CVS Health, Kroger and Rite Aid, with a combined 60,000 locations nationwide — said they allow pharmacy staff members to hand over customers’ medical records in the store.
The policy was revealed in a letter sent late Monday [December 11] to Xavier Becerra, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.).
The members began investigating the practice after the Supreme Court’s decision last year in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ended the constitutional right to abortion.
The revelation could shape the debate over Americans’ expectations of privacy as Texas and other states move to criminalize abortion and drugs related to reproductive health.
Pharmacies’ records hold some of the most intimate details of their customers’ personal lives, including years-old medical conditions and the prescriptions they take for mental health and birth control. [Continue reading…]