Z Urology always scours the net to find interesting stories that center around urological happenings. Here is one out of Arizona that caught our eye. Warehouse store chain Costco can be (and will be) sued for privacy violations by a Phoenix-area man who alleged that a pharmacist joked with his ex-wife about an erectile dysfunction (ED) prescription he had twice canceled, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The ruling allows the man’s lawsuit to proceed but sets a high bar for him to win. In order to win the case, he must show by “clear and convincing” evidence that the store and its pharmacist did not act in good faith when the woman was told about the prescription.
But it is an important decision because for the first time the state Supreme Court ruled that lawsuits can be brought here under state law for violations of the federal health care privacy law commonly known as HIPAA.
What Did Costco Say in Their Defense
Costco argued that the federal law does not allow private citizens to sue, but the court rejected that, saying the law’s standards can be used to show privacy violations in state court.
The company also argued that state law provides broad immunity from lawsuits for providers that act in good faith, but the high court said the man has the right to have that claim tried in court.
The ruling upholds a 2019 state Court of Appeals ruling that revived the lawsuit the man filed after the pharmacist told his ex-wife about the prescription when she went to pick up another prescription with his approval. The man had called Costco twice to cancel the prescription before his ex-wife went to the north Phoenix store in early 2016, but the pharmacist did not do so. The trial court had dismissed the case, citing the state immunity law and because HIPPA does not allow private lawsuits.
The rulings say the Phoenix-area man in his 50s received a sample for an erectile dysfunction drug from his doctor in January 2016 and later got a call from Costco saying a full prescription he had not sought was ready for pickup. The man canceled the prescription and then canceled it a second time about a month later when he called to check on an unrelated prescription and was told it was still there.
The man then authorized Costco to allow his ex-wife to pick up his regular prescription refill, and that’s when the pharmacist told her about the ED pills and they joked about them.
The man’s attorney said that Costco apologized after the man complained, sending him a letter saying that telling his ex-wife this information violated both HIPPA and the company’s own privacy policies. He said the pharmacist clearly had a responsibility to protect his client’s privacy under both federal law and the company’s policies.
The case now returns to a lower court for further proceedings. Carden said in 2019 he suspects the pharmacist never canceled the prescription because they may get bonuses for selling high-profit drugs like Viagra. He said that there is no other logical reason for the prescription not being canceled and he’ll try to show that at trial.
If you feel you are in need of a urologist in South Florida to aid in helping deal with erectile dysfunction like this gentleman had, then contact Z Urology for a group that is dedicated to delivering world-class expertise in urology, along with an unwavering commitment to their patients. The three locations to choose from are located in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, and Pompano Beach.
You can go to the website directly and set up an appointment or you can call 954-714-8200. Either way, you contact, you will be setting up to see the leading urologist office in all of South Florida. With an extremely talented and professional staff of doctors and more, you are in truly good hands with the doctors and nurses at Z Urology. Z Urology is your leader in urological care. Go ahead and call now!