Healthcare Company Experiences Cyberattack Affecting Prescription Process

In a devastating move to the pharmacy industry in the U.S., a subsidiary of one of the largest health insurance agencies was recently struck by a cyberattack from what it believes is a foreign “nation-state” actor.

As a result of the cyberattack, pharmacies across America are having a difficult time processing prescriptions, only doing so in emergencies.

A Minnesota-based company, UnitedHealth Group, recently said its subsidiary Change Healthcare’s system was compromised when a “suspected nation-state associated cyber security threat actor” accessed it.

Change Healthcare was the only network that the cyberattack affected, according to UnitedHealth.

The company released a statement regarding the incident, saying it took action to ensure their “partners and patients” were protected.

“UnitedHealth Group identified a suspected nation-state associated cyber security threat actor had gained access to some of the Change Healthcare information technology systems,” the company said.

“Immediately upon detection of this outside threat, the company proactively isolated the impacted systems from other connecting systems in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, to contain, assess and remediate the incident,” it added.

The health insurance company, worth billions, is unsure when its subsidiary will resume servicing customers and is working with law enforcement and security experts to resolve the issue.

“Change Healthcare is experiencing a cybersecurity issue, and our experts are working to address the matter,” UnitedHealth wrote. “Once we became aware of the outside threat, in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, we took immediate action to disconnect our systems to prevent further impact.”

After the cyberattack, several pharmacies were unable to process prescriptions for insurance companies to receive compensation, according to CNN. Hospitals in California and Colorado released statements following the incident, saying they could not process prescription claims or delayed in doing so.

In California, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton said all associated pharmacies would only be able to assist patients “with emergency and urgent prescriptions from hospital providers at this time.”

The American Hospital Association recently warned about 5,000 member hospitals and other healthcare providers of the cyberattack against Change Healthcare, saying it believes “all other systems across UnitedHealth Group are operational.”

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