MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- We all have to get prescriptions filled at a pharmacy at some point, but what if that pharmacy were mishandling your private information? A local whistleblower says Mike's Medical Pharmacy on Pio Nono Avenue is doing just that.
The man asked us not to show his face or say his name, but he claims Mike's Medical Pharmacy on Pio Nono Avenue is violating federal privacy laws--by not properly destroying sensitive information.
"Personal information was being mishandled...The patient's information as well as the drug information, as far as the medications that they're on--and doctor information," he told 41NBC.
That is exactly what 41NBC found in the dumpster next to the pharmacy: unshredded prescription information, complete with patient names and addresses; information that could pose a serious threat to customers' security, according to FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett.
"The personal information is so detailed that it completes the loop, if you will, for those individuals that want to engage in identity theft," says Emmett.
He also says dumpster divers looking for leftover drugs could see what medication you have at your home and come to you. 41NBC's Andrew Reeser confronted Mike Iteogu, the pharmacy's owner, about what he found.
"I have video footage of unshredded documents, I mean, people's full out information just sitting in the dumpster there for anyone to see," Andrew said to Iteogu.
"I have no doubt about that and I'm sorry about it, but I'm going to do a better job when we have interns and all that in here, I'm gonna have to clamp on every one of them," Iteogu replied.
"Are you aware that that's a violation of the law?"
"It's a HIPAA violation, there's no doubt about that," Iteogu said on-camera.
HIPAA (Health and Information Privacy Prevention Act) laws were created to protect patients' identities from being compromised. They require all patient information, including names, addresses and birthdates--not to mention social security numbers--be shredded or pulverized beyond recognition. The whistleblower says what's going on at Mike's Medical Pharmacy has to stop.
"I want to protect people," he told 41NBC. "And this is something that needs to be known in order to protect people. When you go to a pharmacy, you give them your trust. You give them access to your personal information as well as your health information. They don't realize who they hurt."
To be clear, Iteogu says Mike's Medical Pharmacy does have a shredder and his employees are supposed to use it. The FBI would not comment on whether they will investigate the pharmacy, but they say they do investigate violations of HIPAA laws.