What Does GDPR Mean for the Bulgarian Pharmacies and Doctors?

Today marks a new era in personal data protection in Europe. The GDPR is now in full effect and many don't seem to understand its implications. For instance - pharmacies in Bulgaria. Pharmacies all over the country have been advised to gather signatures of their clients for each medicine they sell. This way, experts believe that within a couple of days Bulgarian pharmacies will have gathered over 1.5 million of those signatures. 

What is the problem? For some reason, pharmacy employees have not been entirely informed on how to treat and collect personal data. Right now, clients are being asked to sign forms, whereby they agree for the pharmacy to use their data. However, the method is flawed. Clients have to sign one form per medicine, meaning that buying 6 kinds of medicine would cost you the time of signing 6 different forms. Some people suggest a one-off form valid for a year or two.

But this is not the only problem. Doctors may also have to require signatures from patients that are not their own. Whilst personal doctors' work is based on the assumption that by choosing the doctor the patient agrees to the unlimited access to health-related personal data, specialized doctors (for instance dermatologists) will have to ask for the patients' permission to access their data.

However, the Commission for Personal Data Protection in Bulgaria says that they haven't considered implementing such measures in the healthcare sector. According to the commission, GDPR only dictates that patients are entitled to knowing what type of data pharmacies/doctors have on them. 

Vasil Manev

Vasil Manev is a student in Computer Science and an aspiring columnist, studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

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