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Cyberattack troubles pharmacies nationwide – WWAYTV3

Cyberattack troubles pharmacies nationwide – WWAYTV3

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A cyberattack is leaving pharmacies across the nation struggling to serve their customers. 

WWAY visited a pharmacy on Friday to see how they are coping with the interruption. WWAY spoke with Hickman’s Pharmacy in Leland.  

Pharmacy Manager Wesley Hickman said luckily, he has had little trouble when it comes to filling prescriptions for patients here locally. But he recognizes the toll this is taking on pharmacies in other parts of the country. 

“We’re a small pharmacy, we’re able to—obviously follow the rules—but look at our patient as person, rather than as a number,” Hickman said. 

UnitedHealth Group reported a cyberattack on Thursday.  

The attack led to access to its Change Healthcare information technology systems. This handles insurance prescriptions for thousands of pharmacies across the U.S.. This means many patients were faced with paying for prescriptions in full.  

Although Hickman said other pharmacies are doing far worse than his, he still shares the same frustration.  

“We are getting intermittent contact with them. So, we are able to pass some claims through and get billing information back. But I would say it is spotty at best over the last couple of days,” Hickman said. 

Hickman said he has made it a priority to continue providing prescriptions to patients, despite this disruption.  

One Brunswick County woman said she has yet to feel the ripple of this cyber security breach but fears the position she and her husband would find themselves in, if something did happen. 

“My husband is a diabetic. If he were to come into the drug store and have to pay out of pocket for his diabetes medicine, it would be in the hundreds. Who can afford that? I don’t understand,” Marcia Cashner said. 

Cashner said she’s going to hope to remain unaffected until the problem is resolved.  

“I’m really thankful that Hickman’s pharmacy was not affected because that’s the only pharmacy that we use,” Cashner said. 

Companies are required to report cyberattacks to investors via the SEC, and it’s probable that UnitedHealth doesn’t yet know what, or who, caused the attack.  

The cyber security breach is still being investigated. But it would be unusual for a nation-state-sponsored attack, because it more closely resembles ransomware attacks affecting America’s hospitals and healthcare networks over the past several years. 

The article was first published here

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