Patients across the U.S. still unable to access lifesaving medications nearly two weeks after CYBERATTACK on UnitedHealth’s Change Healthcare unit
03/05/2024 // Ava Grace // Views

Patients across the country are still unable to access lifesaving medications nearly two weeks after a cyberattack targeted UnitedHealth, the United States' largest health insurer.

UnitedHealth revealed its Change Healthcare unit, which processes prescriptions to tens of thousands of pharmacies, was compromised during a suspected state-sponsored hack. Change Healthcare, a company handling orders and patient payments throughout the U.S., first noticed the "cyber security issue" affecting its networks on the East Coast on Feb. 21.

"Change Healthcare is experiencing a network interruption related to a cyber security issue and our experts are working to address the matter. Once we became aware of the outside threat, in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, we took immediate action to disconnect our systems to prevent further impact," Change Healthcare said in a statement at the time. (Related: Cyber security threats: 10 Tips for safe internet browsing.)

Pharmacies across the country have put out notices that the attack on Change Healthcare disrupted their ability to process patients' orders.

"We are experiencing a temporary pharmacy outage at the 22nd Medical Group. We understand the inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience as we work diligently to resolve the issue. Our team is working to restore complete pharmacy services as soon as possible," read a post from 22nd Medical Group, a medical center based around McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

"There is a nationwide outage from some of the largest prescription processors in North America," Michigan-based Canadian Lakes Pharmacy wrote on social media. "We can receive your [prescription] but most insurance plans we cannot bill to your insurance company. If you can wait a day or so to pick up your RX that would be great. If you need it today we can do our best to accommodate individual needs."

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Knight's Pharmacy in Berea, Kentucky, wrote: "We are still unable to process prescriptions to insurance due to the cyberattack on Change Healthcare. Unfortunately, this is a national outage and beyond our control. We will be working to fill our backlog of prescriptions as quickly as possible as soon as the system is available. We have not been given an estimated timeframe for (the) restoration of service. Thank you for your patience."

Patients denied medications, forced to pay more

Patients said they have been denied medications for blood clots, addiction and cancer, or been forced to pay as much as seven times the normal cost after insurance. The cyberattack comes as the U.S. battles historic shortages of lifesaving drugs like chemotherapy and antibiotics.

"I haven't been able to go to the bathroom in days. I cannot get up. I have so much pain in my abdomen and back," said Julie Gregory of Ohio, who just started oral chemotherapy for stage three cancer.

Gregory said she has called her doctor and hospital several times but has yet to get any assistance since the cyberattack. "They are too overwhelmed to call back, give me direction, or help," she said. If Gregory is unable to refill her prescription in time, her overall treatment plan could be less effective, making her more susceptible to cancer.

Change Healthcare handles roughly 15 billion transactions a year, which represent about one in three U.S. patient records.

Meanwhile, Chrystal Russell's pharmacy told her that she won't be able to get Vivitrol, a prescription injection used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence.

Russell's pharmacist told her she should get the medication later in the week, though she worries about the risk of further delays. "That's going to impact my recovery," she said.

Visit for more stories about cyberattacks.

Watch this video of John Williams discussing the cyberattack on AT&T and UnitedHealth.

This video is from ThisisJohnWilliams channel on

More related stories:

Cigna Healthcare used AI to deny hundreds of thousands of valid health insurance claims, lawsuit alleges.

Major health insurance companies alter policies to exclude coverage for injuries or sickness during WAR, riot or insurrection.

Pentagon report warns of China’s cyber preparations for war following hacking of U.S. military bases.

Sources include:

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