A GP representative has called for prison sentences for businesses that "abuse" personal data, following the Pharmacy2U data-selling scandal.
The GP arm of the British Medical Association (BMA) said it welcomed a government watchdog investigation into the online pharmacy business, which led to the company being fined £130,000 last week (October 20) for selling 21,500 patient names and addresses to marketing companies in 2014.
But the BMA feels that the “current financial penalties do not offer enough of a deterrent”, Paul Bundy, chair of the organisation’s GP IT committee, said the following day.
“We are pushing for custodial penalties for those who wilfully or recklessly abuse personal data,” Dr Bundy said.
The BMA stressed that it is not responsible for "making this happen” because it is not a regulatory body. But it has "made it clear" to the Information Commissioner's Office [ICO] and the government that "tougher penalties should be considered", it told C+D yesterday (October 26).
Last week, Pharmacy2U managing director Daniel Lee “sincerely apologised” for the “regrettable incident”, which saw patient data sold to an Australian lottery company that the ICO said “deliberately targeted elderly and vulnerable individuals”.
The General Pharmaceutical Council reaffirmed to C+D yesterday (October 26) that it will “study” the ICO’s findings to decide if it should take further action against Pharmacy2U.