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Pharmacy patient health files discovered at Rankin landfill

The North West Company has recently issued a public information release notifying Kivalliq residents that materials containing health information were recovered from the Rankin Inlet landfill site this past Feb. 28.

The release went on to state that the information belonged to patients of the previously operating Sakku Drugs in Rankin (since purchased by the North West Company) and contained patient names, health card numbers, dates of birth, prescribed medications and the community of residence for the involved patients.

It further informed Kivalliqmiut that the Northern Pharmacy dispatched staff members to retrieve any relevant information immediately upon learning that sensitive health materials had been located at the landfill.

It is not believed at this time that anyone else viewed the files except for the person who found them at the landfill site.

“The North West Company privacy officer has determined that a privacy breech occurred since the materials were found in a public location,” stated the release.

“To date, we have no evidence that any materials were viewed by any outside party other than one community member who informed our Northern Pharmacy about the materials being located at the landfill.”

The company stated that all materials retrieved from the Rankin Inlet landfill were brought to the Northern Pharmacy and placed into secure storage.

It further stated that the Government of Nunavut, the information and privacy commissioner of Nunavut, and the office of the privacy commissioner of Canada have all been notified of the privacy breech.

“The North West Company has security measures in place to prevent policy breeches, including all confidential information that is required to be retained by law is securely stored in units clearly labelled as to the contents therein,” stated the release.

“Confidential information retained by Northern Pharmacy is stored in locations not accessible to the public, and personal health information is retained and destroyed according to our pharmacy services policies and procedures on retention and destruction of patient records.

“Pharmacy managers with the North West Company Inc. received privacy training in January of 2019 at the company’s annual conference.”