SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Hundreds of thousands of dollars in pills were reportedly stolen from a pharmacy in a San Marcos strip mall. Along with the drugs, personal information was taken. Yet it took more than two months for some pharmacy customers to find out their data was in the hands of criminals.
In two 10News exclusive interviews, investigative reporter Jennifer Kastner spoke to an outraged patient and the apologetic pharmacy owner.
“I feel very vulnerable,” says San Diego’s Fonda Torres. “What’s done is done and I’ll find out in the long run,” she adds.
Torres was one of around 3,000 patients who received a letter in May from Quality Care Pharmacy in San Marcos. The letter notifies patients that burglars broke into the facility in March. They reportedly stole drugs and computer with personal information of patients.
The letter reads, “The thieves were sophisticated enough to circumvent all security measures.” It does not provide patients with any identity protection resources.
Torres says she and her husband didn’t get the letter until almost nine weeks after the burglary. “[There was] no phone call. No email. The delivery driver drops off my medications but nothing was said there,” she adds.
“[The pharmacy] should have notified everyone immediately,” says husband Ray Carney.
10News received records from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department detailing three previous burglaries at the pharmacy in the last two years. The pharmacy is owned by Raj Rakholia.
“He was negligent,” says Torres’ husband.
10News went to the pharmacy to get answers from Rakholia. “I was planning to email every client on my own but when I got the list [of clients] it was too long,” he tells us of how he tried to go about notifying clients of the burglary.
Rakholia says he was overwhelmed by the recent burglary. He admits he could’ve notified patients sooner, even though it appears he was within HIPAA’s 60-day requirement.
“I feel like I should have done a better job,” he adds.
He showed us around the pharmacy, where we could see the safe that was drilled through by the burglars. Rakholia says he upgraded security after each of the break-ins. There’s a wireless system with eight cameras. He’s also got a metal gate. All that wasn’t enough. He says he’d appreciate having the strip mall manager hire a security guard.
Rakholia says he’s committed to regaining his patients’ trust and will do “whatever it takes.”
Regardless, Torres hopes patients seek care elsewhere. “There are other pharmacies. I would advise you to choose one other than going to Quality Care Pharmacy,” she adds.
If you believe your information is at risk, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The federal government has an identity theft website with resources.