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MediSecure confirms it’s at the centre of cyber security incident

16 May 2024
By Kate McDonald

Electronic prescription exchange MediSecure – which no longer acts as one of the national prescription delivery services for electronic prescriptions – has confirmed it is the organisation identified in a cyber security incident affecting the personal and health information of individuals.

In a statement today, MediSecure said it was “actively assisting the Australian Digital Health Agency and the National Cyber Security Coordinator to manage the impacts of the incident”.

MediSecure has notified the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and other key regulators, it said.

National cyber security coordinator Michelle McGuinness said her office was advised yesterday by “a commercial health information organisation” that it was the victim of a “large-scale” ransomware data breach incident.

“I am working with agencies across the Australian Government, states and territories to coordinate a whole-of-government response to this incident,” Lieutenant General McGuinness said.

“The Australian Cyber Security Centre is aware of the incident and the Australian Federal Police is investigating.

“We are in the very preliminary stages of our response and there is limited detail to share at this stage, but I will continue to provide updates as we progress while working closely with the affected commercial organisation to address the impacts caused by the incident.”

Minister for Cyber Security Clare O’Neil said she had been briefed on the incident and the government convened a national coordination mechanism regarding this matter today.

“The national cyber coordinator, Michelle McGuinness, is leading work across the Australian government to support the company in managing this large-scale ransomware incident,” Ms o’Neil said.

“Updates will be provided in due course. Speculation at this stage risks undermining significant work underway to support the company’s response.”

MediSecure was in the past one of two prescription exchange services that provided electronic prescription capability for GPs and pharmacies.

However, under a somewhat controversial decision by the Department of Health and Aged Care to move to a sole provider model for prescription delivery services (PDS), MediSecure lost out to rival eRx and had its capability switched off in prescribing software in November 2023.

MediSecure had worked in partnership with eRx to become interoperable and to build a national data exchange (NDE) that is also used by the real-time prescription monitoring systems.

Patient data that it held in its servers has since been transferred to eRx as the sole provider of the NDE. Data from MediSecure sites is now fully transferred to the national PDS.

While it is no longer used by GPs or pharmacies for prescription exchange, it still provides some services for handling private prescriptions and to service eCommerce platforms for scripts that provides users with the option of their own script wallet and repeat reminders.

“MediSecure understands the importance of transparency and will provide further updates via our website as soon as more information becomes available,” according to a statement on its website. “We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.”

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