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PharmaNet investigation

The PharmaNet database has a profile for each individual that includes name, address, date of birth, personal health number (BC Services Card/Care Card number), and gender. It also includes the history of prescription medications dispensed to a patient in the past 14 months.

For the most part, the individual accessed basic demographic/profile information. However, in some instances, medication history for the past 14 months was viewed, which includes drug name, dose, date, prescribing physician and dispensing pharmacy.

The ministries of Health, Finance, and Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services have undertaken a significant amount of work in response to these incidents. As soon as the incidents were detected, the Ministry of Health took immediate steps to prevent further inappropriate access – including disabling access to PharmaNet where appropriate.

In March 2017, the VPD informed government that information accessed or gained from PharmaNet was used for fraudulent purposes. As a result, government is providing credit monitoring at no cost to all impacted individuals.

The Ministry of Health will be sending all affected individuals a letter with instructions on how to access this service. Individuals are encouraged to wait for a letter, rather than calling Health Insurance BC.  

Any additional questions can be directed to HIBC at 604 683-7151 (Lower Mainland) or 1 800 663-7100 (elsewhere in B.C.), Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

As an added security measure of security, all British Columbians can set up a PharmaNet protective word by visiting any B.C. community pharmacy to further protect their medication information. Once the protective word is activated, only health professionals with whom you share the protective word, such as your doctor and pharmacist, can access your medication history.