The suit was filed in Washington Western District Court by four Costco customers who used the retailer’s pharmacy services via its website or app. / Photo: Shutterstock
Several members of Costco Wholesale have initiated a federal class-action lawsuit claiming the warehouse club giant illegally shared personal health information.
Filed on Friday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the suit alleges that online activity-tracking technology used by Costco—including Meta Pixel code from Facebook parent Meta Platforms—captured sensitive and personally identifiable health data while these customers interacted with the Costco Pharmacy website and/or mobile app and transmitted that information to third parties, including Meta, without their consent.
Issaquah, Washington-based Costco couldn’t immediately be reached by Winsight Grocery Business for comment on the lawsuit, titled Castillo et al v. Costco Wholesale Corporation.
The four plaintiffs are California residents and Costco Pharmacy patients. According to the case documents, they ordered new prescriptions and refills; searched for medications, drug pricing and Medicare supplemental insurance; reviewed co-payment information; checked script pickup times; communicated with pharmacy staff; and provided “personal, private and highly sensitive information” while using the retailer’s pharmacy website or app.
Costco’s use of Pixel “compromised and disclosed to third parties”—without pharmacy patient authorization—such information as computer IP addresses, patient status, prescription details, vaccinations, treatments, patient location and health insurance coverage, as well as unique identifiers used to link patients’ private communications through the website to their Facebook accounts, the complaint said. All four plaintiffs indicated they generally remained logged into their Facebook accounts while online with Costco Pharmacy.
“Specifically, Defendant [Costco] used the sensitive information to gain additional insights into its patients and prospective patients, improve its return on its marketing dollars and, ultimately, to increase revenue. Costco encouraged Plaintiffs and the Class
Members [pharmacy customers] to access and use