Zellers sued by pharmacists over selling patient records

April 26, 2012 - News

A group of Zellers pharmacists will seek an injunction Thursday to prevent the retailer from selling thousands of patient records to two major grocery store chains for at least $35 million, says their lawyer, Gerhard Pyper.
The application comes amid a lawsuit being heard in Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List). The pharmacists allege Zellers has no right to the records and the sale violates privacy laws, according to court documents.
Zellers is countersuing the pharmacists, saying its licensing agreement gives it ownership of the files and the right to sell them, the documents say.
The retailer also claims the pharmacists are interfering with its ability to transfer those files to Loblaw Companies Ltd. and Metro Inc.
The pharmacies are closing as part of Zellers’ deal with U.S. retail giant Target Corp., which will open stores in 135 former Zellers locations starting in 2013.
As part of the $1.825 billion deal, Target had the option to buy the records. It chose not to and will open pharmacies run by franchisees.
Zellers agreed to sell the records at 95 stores to Loblaw for about $35 million and at seven others to Metro for an undisclosed amount.
Nine Zellers pharmacists are now suing for $3 million each for breach of contract.
But pharmacist Prabhjot Dhanoa, who has owned the pharmacy in the Shoppers World Brampton Zellers for 20 years, says it’s not about the money. “My patients are going to suffer. A lot are seniors. They’ve dealt with me for the last 20 years. … I could have opened something in the area … and taken my files with me. These files don’t belong to me or anybody. They’re patient files.”
Zellers claims the pharmacists are interfering with the sale by removing signs advising patients their records are being transferred, according to court filings.
Until the stores close, the records will remain with Zellers. Patients do not have to deal with the stores that bought their files.
— Torstar News Service