Health Privacy

GSK Breach Letter

Consumers receive breach letters — Pharmaceutical manufacturer GSK, maker of drugs Paxil, Boniva, Advair, and many others, sent a letter to consumers who had registered on one or more of its product websites. Due to the Epsilon data breach, registrants’ names, email, and the product they registered for was breached. Information people give to a company via a pharmaceutical product web site such as this is not usually covered under HIPAA. See our Patient’s Guide to HIPAA for more on what is covered under HIPAA and what is not. WPF recommends that consumers use a “throwaway” or temporary email address if deciding to register at a Pharmaceutical product web sites.

WPF Comments on Health Information Exchanges in California

Joint Comments on HIEs — California has proposed regulations for health information exchange projects in the state. WPF has submitted comments encouraging more privacy protections, and we are joined in our comments by Privacy Activism and the Center for Digital Democracy. One key request in the comments is that California not allow patient consent to be waived in HIE projects. We are also requesting that California create a unified web listing of its HIE projects for increased transparency and to facilitate patient access to HIE information and policies.

Public Comments: April 2011 – WPF Files Joint Comments on California Health Information Exchanges

California has proposed regulations for health information exchange projects in the state. WPF has submitted comments encouraging more privacy protections, and we are joined in our comments by Privacy Activism and the Center for Digital Democracy. One key request in the comments is that California not allow patient consent to be waived in HIE projects. We are also requesting that California create a unified web listing of its HIE projects for increased transparency and to facilitate patient access to HIE information and policies.

WPF comments about Personal Health Records and online advertising

Health privacy — The World Privacy Forum filed comments today about how medical records and other health information is intersecting with online advertising and online activities. The WPF comments were filed with the Department of Health and Human Services in response to its request for comments on personal health records, privacy, and social media.

Public Comments: September 2010 – Joint comments on the Proposed Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules under HITECH

In our view, the Department’s proposed changes to HIPAA regarding marketing are contrary to the law. Current law requires that paid communications for any marketing should be allowed only on an opt-in basis. We oppose the Department’s proposed regulation that would allow communications paid for by third parties who are not the entities whose product or service is being described in the communication.