You buy a Walgreens pregnancy test and a box of baby formula arrives: “Shame on you!”

Personal data is an increasingly popular currency in the business world. And no, selling data is not necessarily legal or ethical, and it opens the debate about how vulnerable all types of consumers are in the modern world.

Enfamil formula for children. Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

This week, experience A Walgreens customer On Twitter, where he said he received a package from the brand Enfamil with infant formulaA week after purchasing a pregnancy test at the pharmacy at the request of your doctor.

“Dear Walgreens. I received this package today, a week after I purchased a pregnancy test from your store. My doctor asked me to get the test even though I don’t have a fallopian tube,” user Nicole tweeted on Sunday.

Not only did Nicole not order the Enfamil package, she He knew he couldn’t use it because of his medical condition. “Of course I used my rewards card at checkout. I’m sure that’s what happened to me.”

There is still a shortage of infant formula

First of all, the user confirmed that there is still a crisis in the supply of infant formula in the United States. “There is a deficiency in the formula However, Enfamil sends a version of the data you clearly sold anyway [Walgreens]. ¡what a shame!“.

According to data from market research firm IRI, 28.3% of Baby Milk Powder products were out of stock in US stores as of the weekend of July 10which is up from the 23.7% recorded in the week ending May 22, when the shortage dominated the headlines.

The data, cited by the Wall Street Journal last week, shows that the latest available number was a slight improvement over the previous week, when the share of stock was 29.5%, the highest number so far this year.

In addition to the lack of availability, consumers face a dearth of choice when it comes to the type of infant formula to buy. As of July 3, an average of 11 different formula products were purchased per week, Compared to 24 that were on shelves between 2018 and 2021.

Similac and Enfamil products are seen on largely empty shelves in the infant formula section of a Target store, amid the ongoing nationwide shortage of formula for infants and toddlers, in San Diego, California, US, on May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Bing guan

Similac and Enfamil products appear on nearly empty shelves in the infant formula section of a Target store, amid the continuing nationwide shortage of formula for infants and toddlers, in San Diego, California, US, May 25, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/Bing Guan

No person can or wants to have a child.

“Second, what if I’m trying too hard to get pregnant and can’t? Wouldn’t that be a kick in the face?!‘,” Nicole added in a Twitter thread whose main post has already reached 173,000 Favorite It has been shared more than 40,000 times.

The user presented a hypothetical scenario in which the person receiving this package is “in an abusive relationship” and their partner intercepts it. Or, on the other hand, if the package reached a woman in a situation where abortion is now illegal.

“Are you trying to do political statement Or is it just a great strategy to make money? “

at least Nine states have banned abortion After the Supreme Court’s decision to set aside the Roe v. Wade, who provided constitutional protections to women requesting the procedure. Some of these states have followed the example of Texas by offering a cash reward to citizens who successfully sue anyone who assists a woman with an illegal abortion.

There are a number of new bills introduced by Democratic lawmakers that would make it illegal for data brokers to sell sensitive health and location information about medical treatments and personal information that fertility apps track, such as when you ovulated or had sex.

sell data

Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission warned that it would take legal action against companies selling this type of personal data.

Realize that our data is being bought and soldEspecially through the use of rewards cards, but this is much more important than having a coupon sent to me in the mail, so I thought it was worth mentioning,” the Twitter user said.

Nicole says that while she’s open to the possibility that a purchase other than Walgreens may have caused this bundle charge, she insists she “doesn’t have any baby items in my life.”

FILE - In this June 4, 2014, file photo, people walk into a Walgreens retail store in Boston.  Walgreens lowered its 2019 outlook and missed its second-quarter forecast with a performance that sent its shares down on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, and sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down.  The country's largest drugstore chain said it now expects adjusted earnings per share to be roughly flat this year after it recently confirmed in late December a growth forecast of 7% to 12%.  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Walgreens store in Boston. AP Photo / Charles Krupa, File

“There are not even kid things in my life. I will add, I paid using my iPhone with a Bank of America visa. Some people have no choice but to use these cards because they are on a tight budget. Not everyone can protect their privacy“.

Many of the responses Nicole received to her Twitter thread included similar experiences from people who believed their data was being sold.

“I received a package like this over a decade ago during an abortion. It still bothers me. I wrote a letter to the manufacturer. Didn’t get an answer.” wrote @og_helraiser to Nicole.

“My nine-year-old son goes to get the mail and brings a carton of baby formula. Then he asks if there’s something I’m not telling him. That’s how my son found out he was going to be a big brother.” tweet @waltersrobin. “That wasn’t what I was planning to tell him.”

“Less than 48 hours after my daughter was born… I got a call from a bank to set up a savings plan for her,” Reply @ppprussel14. “We didn’t tell the whole family“.

Walgreens, the second largest pharmacy chain in the United States after CVS Health, responded to Nicole’s tweet early Tuesday morning and apologized for the incident.

“We apologize for any inconvenience you may have. Please feel free to provide the pharmacy’s website so we can share your comments with management,” the company wrote in a brief post.

Alleged sale of personal data Nothing new for Walgreens. In 2011, a lawsuit was filed in California accusing the store of illegally selling medical information taken from patients’ prescriptions.

In contrast to lawsuits focused on patient privacy, prosecutors accused Walgreens of denying them the commercial value of their prescription information.

According to the lawsuit, reported by Reuters at the time and filed by Todd Murphy on behalf of his two daughters, Walgreens sold prescription information to data-mining companies that resell it to drug companies for marketing purposes.

As a measure of the value of the information, the lawsuit cites Walgreens’ 2010 annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which listed “purchased recipe files” as $749 million in intangible assets.

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