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B.C. Reg. 74/2015
O.C. 232/2015
Deposited May 14, 2015
effective June 1, 2015, except sections 3, 4 (1)
and (6) (a) (ii), 8 (3) (a) and 18 (3) (c)
effective December 1, 2020
This consolidation is current to August 15, 2019.
See the Cumulative B.C. Regulations Bulletin 2018
for amendments effective after August 15, 2019.
Link to consolidated regulation (PDF)
Link to Point in Time

Pharmaceutical Services Act

Information Management Regulation

[includes amendments up to B.C. Reg. 97/2018, May 15, 2018]

Contents
Part 1 — Definitions
1Definitions
Part 2 — PharmaNet
2Prescribed information management technology
3Not in force
4Access to PharmaNet generally
5Recording information in PharmaNet
6Access to PharmaNet for technical purposes
7Minister may suspend access
8After suspending access
9Giving notice of ministerial action
Part 3 — Protective Words
10Definitions
11Attaching or removing protective words at pharmacy
12Attaching or removing protective words through the minister
13How to make a request to the minister
14Effect of protective words
15Keywords attached to personal information
Part 4 — Further Purposes
16Further use and disclosure of personal information
16.1Medical staff committees
17Audits and inspections
Part 5 — Transition
18Transition — access to PharmaNet

Part 1 — Definitions

Definitions

1   In this regulation:

"Act" means the Pharmaceutical Services Act;

"claims history" means information recorded in PharmaNet about an identifiable individual that is related to one or more of the following:

(a) the submission of claims made by or on behalf of the individual in respect of drugs, devices and substances dispensed, and related services provided, to that individual;

(b) co-payments paid or payable by the individual;

(c) the assessment of claims referred to in paragraph (a);

"device provider" means a person enrolled in the device provider class under the Provider Regulation;

"electronic system" means an electronic system that is used, by a person who is authorized to access an individual's claims history or medical history, for the purpose of accessing that history;

"medical history" means information recorded in PharmaNet about an identifiable individual that is related to one or both of the following, except to the extent that the information is part of the individual's claims history:

(a) the individual's health;

(b) the provision to the individual of drugs, devices, substances and related services;

"PharmaNet" means the information management technology prescribed under section 2 [prescribed information management technology].

Part 2 — PharmaNet

Prescribed information management technology

2   The computerized networks and associated databases operated and maintained by the ministry of the minister, collectively known as "PharmaNet", are prescribed information management technology for the purposes of the Act.

Not in force

3   [Not in force.]

Access to PharmaNet generally

4   (1) [Not in force.]

(2) A pharmacist and a medical practitioner who may receive payments for claims under section 18 of the Provider Regulation may access an individual's claims history or medical history, or both.

(3) A medical practitioner other than one referred to in subsection (2) and a nurse practitioner may access an individual's medical history only.

(4) A device provider may access an individual's claims history only, and only in respect of devices and related services provided to the individual by the device provider.

(5) A person acting on behalf of a person described in any of subsections (2) to (4) may access an individual's claims history or medical history

(a) only if the person on whose behalf he or she is acting may do so, and

(b) subject to the same limits and conditions that apply to the person on whose behalf he or she is acting.

(6) A person described in any of subsections (2) to (5) may access PharmaNet only

(a) in accordance with the limits and conditions, if any, imposed by the minister

(i) under the Act, and

(ii) [Not in force.]

(b) in accordance with all applicable limits set out in this section, and

(c) to the extent necessary to provide health services to, or to facilitate the care of, the individual whose personal information is being accessed.

[am. B.C. Reg. 97/2018, Sch. s. 2.]

Recording information in PharmaNet

5   For the purposes of section 27 (4) of the Act, a person having access to PharmaNet under section 4 [access to PharmaNet generally] is prescribed as a person who may record in PharmaNet information relevant to the provision of a drug, device, substance or related service.

Access to PharmaNet for technical purposes

6   (1) A person may access PharmaNet if all of the following conditions are met:

(a) access is under a contract made for the purpose of taking an action described in paragraph (b);

(b) access is necessary

(i) to install, implement, maintain, repair, troubleshoot or upgrade an electronic system or equipment that includes an electronic system, or

(ii) to recover data after the failure of an electronic system;

(c) access is limited to the minimum time necessary to complete the work described in paragraph (b);

(d) if applicable, access to recover data under paragraph (b) (ii) occurs only after the system failure has occurred.

(2) A person who is authorized to access PharmaNet under this section must not access the claims history or medical history of any individual, except as follows:

(a) a person having access to PharmaNet under section 4 [access to PharmaNet generally]

(i) authorizes the access before the access occurs,

(ii) gives directions respecting the nature and extent of the access, and

(iii) directly supervises the access;

(b) the person who is authorized to access PharmaNet under this section complies with all directions given under paragraph (a) (ii).

(3) Despite subsection (2) (a) (iii), access may be unsupervised if

(a) attempts to take an action described in subsection (1) (b) have been unsuccessful, and

(b) unsupervised access is necessary to take the action.

(4) A person having access to PharmaNet under this section must make a record of the following:

(a) his or her own name and contact information;

(b) the name and contact information of

(i) the person who authorized the access, and

(ii) each person whose name, password, code or other information was used to access PharmaNet;

(c) the date and time of each access;

(d) if unsupervised access was provided, the reasons why this was necessary, including details of the attempts made to take an action described in subsection (1) (b).

(5) A person having access to PharmaNet under this section must

(a) keep the record required under subsection (4) for at least 4 years, and

(b) produce the record to the minister on request of the minister.

(6) If a person who is authorized to access PharmaNet under section 4 accesses PharmaNet for a purpose described in subsection (1) (b) of this section, all of the conditions and requirements set out in this section apply as if the person was not authorized to access PharmaNet under section 4.

[am. B.C. Reg. 115/2016, Sch. s. 1.]

Minister may suspend access

7   Without giving notice or an opportunity to be heard, the minister may suspend a person's access to PharmaNet if the minister has reason to believe that any of the following circumstances apply:

(a) the person may have done or failed to do anything that could result in

(i) administrative, disciplinary or enforcement action, under an enactment of any jurisdiction, in relation to the improper collection, use or disclosure of personal information, or

(ii) the personal information of any individual, or the integrity of PharmaNet or the provincial drug program, being compromised;

(b) the personal information of any individual, or the integrity of PharmaNet or the provincial drug program, may be compromised by

(i) a technical issue affecting PharmaNet or the person's electronic system, or

(ii) unauthorized access, by the person or by any other person, to PharmaNet or to the person's electronic system.

After suspending access

8   (1) As soon as reasonably practical after suspending access to PharmaNet under section 7 [minister may suspend access], the minister must

(a) reinstate access for a reason referred to in subsection (3) (c) of this section, or

(b) give notice of the suspension and an opportunity to be heard.

(2) Unless the minister permits otherwise, a hearing must be in writing.

(3) Following a hearing, the minister may do any of the following:

(a) [Not in force.]

(b) prohibit further access to PharmaNet;

(c) reinstate access, with or without limits and conditions, if the minister determines that

(i) the grounds for suspending access no longer exist, or

(ii) prohibiting access is not required to protect the personal privacy of any individual or the public interest.

(4) If a person does not respond to the minister within 21 days after notice is given under subsection (1) (b), the following apply:

(a) the person is not entitled to further notice or an opportunity to be heard;

(b) the person's grant of access is revoked;

(c) the person is prohibited from further access to PharmaNet.

[am. B.C. Reg. 97/2018, Sch. s. 3.]

Giving notice of ministerial action

9   (1) The minister may give a notice required under this regulation

(a) personally,

(b) by registered mail or electronically, to the last known business address of the intended recipient, or

(c) in an alternative fashion, if the minister is of the opinion that it is not reasonably practical to give notice in accordance with paragraph (a) or (b).

(2) Despite section 3 (4) [grant required before accessing PharmaNet] or 8 (1) (b) [after suspending access], the minister may waive a requirement for notice if the minister is of the opinion that giving notice is not reasonably practical.

(3) A notice given by the minister under this regulation is deemed to have been received as follows:

(a) if sent by registered mail or any other form of delivery other than personally or electronically, 3 days after the date the notice was sent;

(b) if sent electronically, 24 hours after the time the notice was sent.

Part 3 — Protective Words

Definitions

10   In this Part:

"adult" means a person who is at least 19 years of age;

"CareCard" means a card issued by the Medical Services Commission under the Medicare Protection Act that shows the identity number referred to in section 15 of the Pharmaceutical Services Act;

"guardian" has the same meaning as in the Family Law Act;

"minor" means a person who is under 19 years of age;

"non-photo BC services card" means a non-photo BC services card within the meaning of the Identification Card Regulation;

"photo BC services card" means

(a) a photo BC services card within the meaning of the Identification Card Regulation, or

(b) a driver's licence that

(i) is issued under section 25 (1.3) of the Motor Vehicle Act, and

(ii) indicates that the holder is a beneficiary under the Medicare Protection Act;

"photocopy", in relation to a non-photo BC services card and a photo BC services card, means a photocopy of both the front and back of the card;

"satisfactory identification" means identification that is

(a) issued by the government of Canada or a province, and

(b) satisfactory to the minister.

Attaching or removing protective words at pharmacy

11   (1) An adult may attach or remove a protective word on his or her own behalf by

(a) making a request to a pharmacist at a pharmacy, and

(b) showing to the pharmacist

(i) the adult's photo BC services card, or

(ii) satisfactory identification and either the adult's CareCard or non-photo BC services card.

(2) A pharmacist who receives a request under subsection (1) must,

(a) if satisfied of the adult's identification,

(i) comply with a request to attach a protective word and provide notice of the attachment to the minister, or

(ii) forward to the minister notice of a request to remove a protective word, or

(b) if in any doubt of the adult's identification, refuse the request.

Attaching or removing protective words through the minister

12   (1) An adult may request the minister to attach or remove a protective word on behalf of

(a) himself or herself,

(b) a person in respect of whom the adult has authority under the common law or an enactment to make decisions, or

(c) a minor, if the adult is the minor's guardian and that minor

(i) has not made a request under subsection (2), or

(ii) made a request under subsection (2) but was refused.

(2) A minor may request the minister to attach or remove a protective word on his or her own behalf.

(3) The minister may comply with a request by a minor, made under subsection (2), if satisfied that the minor understands the nature and consequences of attaching or removing a protective word.

How to make a request to the minister

13   (1) A request made to the minister to attach or remove a protective word must be

(a) in writing,

(b) signed by the person making the request, and

(c) accompanied by

(i) information satisfactory to the minister, and

(ii) the proof described in subsection (2), (3) or (4), as applicable.

(2) A request made by a person on the person's own behalf must be accompanied by a photocopy of

(a) that person's photo BC services card, or

(b) satisfactory identification and either that person's CareCard or non-photo BC services card.

(3) A request made by a person on behalf of an adult must be accompanied by a photocopy of

(a) either

(i) the adult's photo BC services card, or

(ii) satisfactory identification for the adult and either the adult's CareCard or non-photo BC services card,

(b) satisfactory identification for the person making the request, and

(c) evidence satisfactory to the minister that the person making the request has authority to make decisions on the adult's behalf.

(4) A request made by a guardian on behalf of a minor must be accompanied by a photocopy of

(a) the minor's photo BC services card, CareCard or non-photo BC services card,

(b) satisfactory identification for the guardian, and

(c) the minor's birth certificate.

Effect of protective words

14   For the purposes of section 29 of the Act and the collection, use and disclosure of personal information to which a protective word is attached, persons having access to PharmaNet under section 4 [access to PharmaNet generally] are prescribed.

Keywords attached to personal information

15   If, before this section comes into force, a person has what is commonly known as a "keyword" attached to the person's personal information in PharmaNet, the keyword

(a) is deemed to be a protective word for all purposes of the Act and this regulation, and

(b) continues as a protective word until removed under this Part.

Part 4 — Further Purposes

Further use and disclosure of personal information

16   (1) A person who practises a health profession and who has access to PharmaNet under section 4 [access to PharmaNet generally] may use personal information obtained from that access for the purpose of monitoring his or her practice of that health profession.

(2) Subject to section 25 (3) of the Act, a person to whom the minister discloses personal information obtained under the Act may use and disclose the information for any purpose to which the subject of the personal information consents.

(3) For the purpose of subsection (2), the person giving consent must specify, in writing, all of the following:

(a) the personal information in respect of which the person is providing consent;

(b) the purpose for which the information may be used or disclosed;

(c) who may use or disclose the information;

(d) the date on which the consent is effective;

(e) the date on which the consent expires, if applicable.

(4) A person who uses or discloses information under subsection (2) must keep a copy of the written consent referred to in subsection (3) for at least 4 years.

Medical staff committees

16.1   (1) In this section:

"authorized person" means a person having access to PharmaNet under section 4 [access to PharmaNet generally];

"medical staff committee" has the same meaning as in section 41 of the Hospital Act;

"quality control function" means a function described in section 41 (1) (b) of the Hospital Act.

(2) For the purpose of performing a quality control function in relation to the actions or omissions of a particular authorized person only, a medical staff committee may use personal information obtained by the committee respecting

(a) the authorized person, and

(b) individuals who may have received care, directly or indirectly, from the authorized person.

[en. B.C. Reg. 115/2016, Sch. s. 2.]

Audits and inspections

17   Audits and inspections may be conducted to determine compliance with the Act and this regulation, including audits and inspections of each instance that a person

(a) accessed PharmaNet,

(b) used or recorded information in PharmaNet, or

(c) disclosed information that the person obtained from PharmaNet.

Part 5 — Transition

Transition — access to PharmaNet

18   (1) Despite section 3 [grant required before accessing PharmaNet] but subject to subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person who was authorized to access an individual’s claims history or medical history in PharmaNet on November 30, 2020, continues to be authorized to access PharmaNet without making an application under that section.

(2) Access under subsection (1) is subject to the following:

(a) the limits and conditions, if any, to which the person was subject as of November 30, 2020;

(b) all applicable limits under section 4 [access to PharmaNet generally];

(c) a suspension under section 7 [minister may suspend access].

(3) Access by a person under subsection (1) of this section ends on the earliest of the following dates:

(a) the date the person is prohibited from accessing PharmaNet under section 8 (3) (b) [after suspending access];

(b) the date established under subsection (4) of this section that is applicable to the person, unless the person has made an application to the minister before that date;

(c) [Not in force.]

(d) April 1, 2022.

(4) The minister may make an order as follows:

(a) establishing classes of those persons to whom subsection (1) applies;

(b) establishing, for each class, the date by which members of the class must make an application under section 3.

(5) This section is repealed effective April 1, 2022.

[am. B.C. Regs. 115/2016, Sch. s. 3; 97/2018, Sch. s. 4.]

[Provisions relevant to the enactment of this regulation: Pharmaceutical Services Act, S.B.C. 2012, c. 22, ss. 61 (1), 63 and 65]