Legal

Amazon Threatens Surescripts Over Blocking PillPack Patient Data Access

Amazon Threatens Suit Against Surescripts For Blocking PillPack From Patient Data

Amazon’s pharmacy arm PillPack could soon be blocked from accessing patients’ histories, pitting the online giant against Surescripts, an electronic prescribing company that manages about 80 percent of all U.S. prescriptions, sources told CNBC.

PillPack uses patients’ prescription data to inform them of possible medication interactions, side effects, duplications and other details important to health and safety. The data comes from Surescripts, which is owned by CVS, Express Scripts and other PillPack competitors.

Surescripts is working behind the scenes to prevent PillPack from accessing the prescription data, the source said.

According to CNBC, two people familiar with the matter said PillPack was told it will soon be cut off from accessing that data from third-party entity ReMyHealth, which collects information from Surescripts and cleans it up.

“PillPack is productively working with partners across the healthcare industry to help people throughout the U.S. who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience,” Jacquelyn Miller, a PillPack spokesperson, told the news outlet. “While we’re not surprised when powerful incumbents try to undermine these efforts, we are confident that our collaborative approach to bringing customers more choice, more convenience and improved quality will ultimately prevail.”

Surescripts said in a statement that medication history “can reveal a lot about an individual’s health status, including the most sensitive of healthcare conditions.”

This dispute is the latest between Amazon and established pharmacies since the company’s near $1 billion purchase of PillPack in June 2018. A judge ruled that a former CVS employee had to wait 18 months before taking a job at PillPack following a June lawsuit filed by CVS.

Amazon has been steadily expanding into the healthcare field, and recently added HIPAA-compliant features to Alexa. The company has also partnered with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan on a healthcare initiative called Haven.

Surescripts was sued in April by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for monopolization of the e-prescription markets, Law360 reported. Surescripts filed a motion to dismiss the case on July 15, stating that the FTC doesn’t have jurisdiction and can’t demonstrate the harm caused.

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