Pfizer: 17,000 Employees Suffer Privacy Breach


Ed Silverman

You read it here first. The June 1 letter from Lisa Goldman in Pfizer’s privacy office has been arriving in mail boxes over the past few days, and the news for thousands of current and former employees isn’t good - there was an unauthorized breach of privacy data, including names and social security numbers. The drugmaker is offering a free year’s worth of credit monitoring. Here’s an excerpt:

“The information was stored on a Pfizer laptop computer that was provided to a Pfizer colleague for use in her home. Due to the the unauthorized installation of certain file sharing software on the laptop, files stored in the laptop containing names, social security numbers, and in some instances, addresses and bonus information of approximately 17,000 present and former Pfizer colleagues, were exposed to one or more third parties. Our investigation revealed that certain files containing your data were accessed and copied.”

“Based on our investigation to date, we have no reason to believe that any oher personally identifiable information was exposed. Also, because the laptop was being used to access the internet outside the Pfizer network environment, there are no associated risks to any other data systems maintained by Pfizer. We apologize for this incident and sincerely regret any inconvenience that these events and responding to this notice may cause you.”

There’s more than a little irony here. Last year, CEO Jeff Kindler was pictured in Pharmaceutical Executive magazine posing in Pfizer’s security bunker. Looks like it should have been fortified.

The drugmaker is suggesting employees call 866-274-3891 to arrange for the monitoring, which actually may be needed more than one year.

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