Cyberattack causes prescription delays at pharmacies nationwide

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UnitedHealth Group and its subsidiary Change Healthcare said a cyberattack caused prescriptions to be delayed this week.

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The Tennessee-based technology company, Change Healthcare, started having issues on Wednesday morning with a network outage that continued through Thursday, CBS News reported.

“Change Healthcare is experiencing a cyber security issue and our experts are working to address the matter,” a UnitedHealth spokesperson told CBS News. “Once we became aware of the outside threat, in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, we took immediate action to disconnect our systems to prevent further impact.”

It is believed that only Change Healthcare was affected by the attack, but that it affected tens of thousands of pharmacies across the country, according to a regulatory filing made by UnitedHealth company on Thursday, CNN reported.

In the filing, UnitedHealth said the attack may have been done by hackers paid by a foreign country.

“UnitedHealth Group identified a suspected nation-state associated cyber security threat actor had gained access to some of the Change Healthcare information technology systems,” the company in the filing, CNN reported. “Immediately upon detection of this outside threat, the company proactively isolated the impacted systems from other connecting systems in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, to contain, assess and remediate the incident.”

The Security and Exchange Commission requires companies to report cyberattacks, CNN reported.

Several pharmacies said that prescriptions would be delayed because of the outage, with one store in Michigan writing on social media that it was not able to bill most insurance companies. By late morning on Thursday, insurance claims were going through.

11:50 AM UPDATE: MOST INSURANCES ARE GOING THROUGH 😁 Good morning. Just wanted to let everyone know the issue that has...

Posted by Canadian Lakes Pharmacy on Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton in California was only able to process emergency or urgent prescriptions during the outage.

Walgreens told CBS News that there were no significant issues but a “small percentage” of prescriptions may be affected and that the company had a system to allow the filling of the medications with little or no interruption, CBS News reported.

CVS told Fox Business that it was aware of the issues at Change Healthcare but its systems were not compromised, still, there were some cases where there were orders that could not be processed by insurance.

“We’re committed to ensuring access to care as we navigate through this interruption. We have business continuity plans in place to minimize disruption of service and apologize for any inconvenience our customers and members may experience. We’re continuing to fill prescriptions but in certain cases, we are not able to process insurance claims, which our business continuity plan is addressing to ensure patients continue to have access to their medications,” CVS said in a statement to Fox Business.

GoodRX, a company that offers prescription discounts, said that they were having issues with filling orders.

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