Pharmacist 'snooped' on dozens of patients, N.S. privacy commissioner says

Nova Scotia's privacy commissioner says a grocery-store pharmacist snooped into the electronic personal health information of dozens of people she knew, an indication of the "real and present danger" of intrusion into patients' private lives.

Two reports from Information and Privacy Commissioner Catherine Tully say the monitoring of electronic personal health information and databases is a "critical vulnerability" in the province.

Tully investigated a series of privacy breaches by a pharmacist employed as the manager at a community pharmacy operated by the Sobeys National Pharmacy Group.

She says the pharmacist inappropriately accessed the personal information, including prescription history and medical conditions, of 46 people over a two-year period.

Tully also determined the Department of Health and Sobeys National Pharmacy Group failed to adequately monitor access to the data, and that investigations conducted by both parties weren't adequate.

She says the Health Department initially told her the breaches had been contained and that there was no evidence of malicious intent.