Allison Hughes, Head of Distribution at NPA Insurance, explains how the team is supporting community pharmacy to find the right protection in its growing battle against cyber-crime.
Cyber security is far from a new concern. Community pharmacy has been facing a variety of cyber threats for several years – from customer data breaches and ransomware attacks, to risks around electronic prescribing and online fraud.
However, as technology becomes more intrinsic to day-to-day operations, this is becoming a more significant and potentially devastating risk to community pharmacy – both in terms of security and business continuity.
This is especially pertinent as the role of technology has been accelerated by COVID-19, with the use of the Electronic Prescription Service, for example, now making up more than 85% of all dispensed prescriptions.
As we have seen in the past, one of the most damaging risks to primary care as a result of cyber fraud is that of business interruption. Three years ago, for example, Barts Health NHS Trust in London was forced to close down large sections of its IT system for four days as a result of a cyber-attack. But it is not just larger institutions that are at risk. According to a global study by Accenture in 2017, personal medical information breaches are most prevalent over pharmacy technology systems.
As the COVID pandemic has highlighted, the role of community pharmacy has never been more vital in the overall provision of primary care and being open for business is paramount. Yet the potential threat of closure as a result of a cyber-crime is very real and potentially very damaging.
Due to community pharmacy’s unique operating environment and the lack of suitable ‘off-the-shelf’ cyber products, NPA Insurance has up to now responded to requests for cyber cover on an individual basis. However, as the threat becomes an increasingly worrying reality, we are committed to identifying the bespoke cover that you need to mitigate the risks.
Over the coming weeks we will be reaching out to members to better understand your use of technology and associated exposure to cyber-crime. We hope that with your input we can develop an insurance cover that will best protect community pharmacy from these increasing cyber risks.
The purpose of NPA Insurance is to offer specialist protection against claims and indemnify loss. Our in-house team of underwriting, legal and claims experts is continuously scrutinising the environment in which community pharmacy operates to identify and mitigate emerging risks and provide suitable cover.
Cyber-crime is an escalating jeopardy that we are committed to fully understanding and providing the best protection against. The insights we gain from members will play an invaluable part in this process and we look forward to working collaboratively with you on this initiative.