A federal appeals court affirmed the legality of Walgreens' handling of customers' personal identifying information for 340B purposes.

Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Privacy Lawsuit Involving 340B Contract Pharmacy

A federal appeals court has affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that Walgreens’ internal transfer of pharmacy customers’ personal identifying information (PII) for 340B drug discount drug purposes violates South Carolina and federal privacy laws.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in J.R. v. Walgreens Boots Alliance on Tuesday. The appeals court heard arguments in the case in September. A federal district judge ruled in Walgreens’ favor in July 2020.

The plaintiffs are customers of Walgreens pharmacies that serve as 340B contract pharmacies. The customers said the pharmacies uploaded their prescription information, including their name, address, date of birth, etc., to a Walgreens central data repository. Walgreens’ 340B third-party administrator unit, 340B Complete, accessed the customers’ prescription information from the same data repository while checking for 340B-eligible prescriptions.

The plaintiffs said they never gave Walgreens permission to let 340B Complete access their PII in the central data repository to find out if their prescriptions were 340B-eligible.

A federal district judge dismissed the lawsuit on multiple grounds, including that the plaintiffs failed to prove that any laws were violated and that they were entitled to relief.

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