Eckerd Pays $1 Million To Resolve Florida Investigation Into Use Of Personal Prescription Information For Marketing Purposes

Profession:Reed Smith Hall Dickler

On July 10, 2002, the Florida Attorney General announced that the pharmacy chain Eckerd Corp. will pay $1 million to fund an ethics program at a Florida university to resolve an investigation into its use of personal medical information. The state's investigation focused on whether Eckerd sufficiently disclosed to customers that when they signed a form acknowledging receipt of their prescription they also were authorizing the company to use their personal information for marketing purposes.

Eckerd, lauded by Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth for its cooperation with the investigation, did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to refrain from using prescription pick-up forms to obtain consent, and to restrict direct marketing of prescription drugs to those who have provided consent to release of their medical information. It also promised to increase disclosures in its marketing communications and provide consumers with an easy means to opt out. The investigation was launched following a lawsuit by an HIV-positive Pompano Beach, FL, man who allegedly received solicitations containing information about a new HIV drug.

The announcement came a day after Attorney General Bob Butterworth announced the issuance of investigative subpoenas to determine whether state laws were violated when Prozac tablets were mailed unsolicited to a Florida resident based on medical information held by Walgreens...

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