Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.

July 26: Amazon and Major Pharmacy Player In Dispute Over Access to Patient Data

Posted on in Industry Updates by Amplicare Team

Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week. 

The Story

PillPack is threatening to sue Surescripts for access to patient data. Amazon’s online pharmacy was notified this week that it will soon be cut off from patient data from the electronic-prescribing company owned by Amazon’s potential competitors, CVS and Express Scripts. As this poses a major threat to its business, Amazon is contemplating legal action to stop their efforts to control patient health information. 

Why It Matters

To ensure that patients are well-informed about their health and safety risks, PillPack’s personalized pharmacy delivery service has depended on access to a list of patients’ medications through third-party company ReMy Health since 2017. Losing this access to Surescripts data means Pillpack would likely have to resort to a long and tedious process of calling each patient to run through their list of medications and conditions. To make matters more complicated, many patients see multiple doctors, making medications difficult to track. This causes concern about increasing health costs and risking patient safety. 

The dispute has also raised the issue of privacy, as Surescripts expressed concern that PillPack’s use of important protected patient health information could reveal sensitive healthcare conditions. However, PillPack spokeswoman Jacquelyn Miller told CNBC that “prescription history is only requested upon consent of the customer, and is held to the same data handling standards as all patient health information handled by PillPack,” emphasizing that it is in line with all healthcare privacy laws. 

This latest battle between Amazon and major pharmacy industry players reveals that Amazon’s new role in the market continues to be a competitive threat.

More Healthcare News to Watch

  1. On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee revealed a bipartisan bill to lower drug costs for Medicare patients. CNBC.
  2. The U.S. FDA approved the first generic copies of Pfizer’s Lyrica, a pricey medication used to treat seizures and fibromyalgia. AP News.
  3. CVS is starting clinical trials of its new home dialysis system in hopes of improving health outcomes for patients with end-stage renal disease. Reuters.
  4. Canada is opposing U.S. plans to import any Canadian prescription drugs that would put its drug supply at risk or raise costs for its citizens. Reuters.
  5. Pharmacy to Farm, NYC’s prescription program that helps low-income residents with health risks afford fresh produce, is now expanding to more local pharmacies. The New Food Economy.

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