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One of the world’s top hormone experts is suspended for gaining illicit access to confidential medical records of more than 100 patients being held by a competitor
- Dr Marion Gluck, 73, founded the first UK clinic to offer bioidentical HRT in 2007
- Harley Street doctor colleague Anu Arasu, 41, shared the log-on details with her
One of the world’s top hormone experts has been suspended for four months after she was granted illicit access to the confidential medical records of more than 100 patients held by a competitor.
Dr Marion Gluck, 73, known globally for her pioneering treatment of hormonal imbalances, asked another doctor for the sensitive log-in information ‘as a favour’ so she could get access to a restricted area of the competitor’s website.
As a result, ibuprofen drug information provided by lexi comp staff at the London Specialist Pharmacy (LSP) were twice able to access private details held by arch-rival Roseway Labs before Roseway’s CEO Elizabeth Philp discovered the data breach in 2022.
Gluck and her former colleague Harley Street doctor Anu Arasu, 41, who shared the log-in details, were subsequently reported to the General Medical Council.
Dr Gluck is renowned for her use of natural bioidentical hormones dedicated to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has treated an estimated 14,000 patients since setting up her clinic in London ten years ago.
Top hormone expert Dr Marion Gluck (pictured) has been suspended after she was granted illicit access to the confidential medical records of more than 100 patients
Her former colleague Anu Arasu, 41, shared the log-in details with her as a ‘favour’
She founded the first UK clinic to offer bioidentical HRT – which is used to relieve symptoms of menopause – in 2007, after training to be a doctor more than 30 years ago in Hamburg.
READ MORE: DR MARION GLUCK asks: Why ARE so many of us put on happy pills instead of HRT?
At the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, Gluck was suspended from medical practice for four months whilst Arasu, from Bermondsey, South London, was suspended for two months after both were found guilty of serious misconduct.
Inquiries revealed Arasu, who accessed prescription HRT drugs for her patients from both firms, had shared her log in details to Roseway with LSP as 73-year old Dr Gluck was her ‘mentor and friend’.
Arasu claimed she had been ‘used’ by Dr Gluck and had made an ‘automatic assumption that what she was being asked was OK’.
She claimed it felt as if Dr Gluck, whom she ‘trusted’, was ‘asking a simple favour.’
Arasu has since had to write letters of apology to all 104 patients affected by the data leak.
Dr Gluck denied personally accessing the details.
However, she accepted that she ‘facilitated’ her staff to use the log in address claiming it was to study the format of Roseway’s website.
Dr Gluck is renowned for her use of natural bioidentical hormones dedicated to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Her Chief Pharmacist at LSP is now currently facing disciplinary action by the General Pharmaceutical Council over the data leak.
Arasu, who is qualified in Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Child Health, and Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, began working for Dr Gluck in November 2014 before forming her own practice London Bioidentical Hormones in Harley Street in 2016.
Trouble began after LSP’s former general manager Miss Philp and another senior pharmacist left the firm in 2017 to found their own compounding pharmacy Roseway the following year.
Initially Dr Arasu’s patients were only able to have prescriptions dispensed by the LSP, but later had the option to use Roseway and a third compounding pharmacy.
However in November 2020 Arasu shared her confidential login details for Roseway’s online portal, ‘eRoseway’ with Dr Gluck which gave her access to names, dates of birth, addresses, all prescriptions and past orders for Roseway’s patients.
In December the following year she provided her eRoseway login details again – this time to a person working for Dr Gluck known only as ‘Mr D.’
In a statement Arasu said of Gluck: ‘She was a senior doctor whom I knew, respected and looked up to and had often turned to for advice and this presented a powerful cognitive bias that made me lose sight of my own power.
‘I did not seek out contrary evidence, stand back and engage in critical thinking or use a systematic decision-making framework. I did not look at the situation from a broader perspective and did not consider all the ramifications on everyone that could potentially be involved.
Arasu, who is qualified in Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Child Health, and Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, began working for Dr Gluck in November 2014
Arasu (pictured) claimed she had been ‘used’ by Dr Gluck and had made an ‘automatic assumption that what she was being asked was OK’
‘I think I did feel some discomfort on sending the email but I suppressed my discomfort and I made the assumption that what was being asked of me was ok.
‘I overlooked the issue that this would constitute a data breach. I was totally ignorant of the corporate significance of my actions, due to very limited exposure, due to trust in my professional colleagues and due to a lack of diverse perspectives.
‘In short I did not think independently and I failed to consider the option of saying “no”.’
Gluck accepted she had obtained the E-Roseway login details from Arasu and forwarded them to colleagues at a meeting on a piece of paper but insisted she had never used them and was preparing a meal when discussions about the Roseway portal was taking place.
She insisted the primary purpose of getting the log in details was in order to ‘test the functionality of the LSP portal in comparison with that of eRoseway’.
Robin Kitching counsel for the GMC said Gluck had ‘grudgingly offered half-hearted apologies to Roseway’ and added: ‘Dr Gluck personally used the login to eRoseway in order to access confidential information relating to Roseway and in order to access confidential patient information.
‘It strains credulity for Dr Gluck to say that she had never looked at Roseway’s portal.
‘She is a successful businesswoman as well as a successful doctor and her IT skills, albeit limited, were sufficient to access and to use the relevant information.
‘We also do not accept that Dr Arasu had given no thought to the propriety of giving her eRoseway login details to LSP.
‘She must have been aware at the time she handed over her login details to a business competitor of Roseway that she should not have been doing so, even though she may not have considered all of the possible ramifications.’
For Gluck Mr Davidson said his client denied ‘pressurising or deceiving’ Arasu into forwarding her log in details to eRoseway.
He added: ‘There was no intention, on her part, to obtain information with a view to scrutinising patient records or to breach patient confidentiality. Dr Gluck was unaware of the significance of her request and the success of her business cannot be taken as evidence of any sinister or premeditated motive on Dr Gluck’s part.
‘There was no evidence she used the login details herself. Her conduct was a one-off incident of naivety.’
For Arasu, her counsel Lee Gledhill said of Dr Gluck: ‘She was a mentor to Dr Arasu, and this relationship made a softening of the margins understandable.
‘Dr Arasu was unaware that anyone would look further at the Roseway portal and she has written to all of the patients whose details had been shared and apologised to each of them. This had been a salutary lesson which she has learned the hard way.’
In its determination MPTS chairman Peter Scofield said of Gluck: ‘Her unauthorised use of a rival company’s portal, made in order to gain a commercial advantage in the improvement of her own company’s site, together with the unauthorised disclosure – whether intended or not – of confidential patient information has brought the reputation of the medical profession into disrepute.’
He added: ‘The Tribunal bore in mind and accepted Dr Arasu’s evidence that Dr Gluck was a former employer of a senior and respected doctor, and that she remained both a personal friend and mentor.
‘The provision of the login details by Dr Arasu followed a request and the Tribunal recognised a power imbalance between them. It accepted, in those circumstances, that it might have been difficult for Dr Arasu to refuse this request for the Roseway login details.’
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