retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that as Amazon looks to make a push into the pharmacy and prescription drug business, it is being accused os accessing and then misusing patient data.

Here’s how the Journal frames the story:

“Surescripts LLC, a provider of the technology widely used to route electronic prescriptions, accused Amazon’s mail-order pharmacy subsidiary PillPack of receiving patient data that it had fraudulently obtained through a third party. Surescripts went public with the allegations in a news release.

“PillPack, which caters to patients taking multiple medications, denies any wrongdoing. PillPack accessed Surescripts’ database via a third-party software vendor, ReMy Health Inc., to retrieve the medication histories of its customers who had explicitly authorized PillPack to obtain the information, said PillPack spokeswoman Jacquelyn Miller.”

The story points out that “the dispute with Surescripts is an example of the challenges that PillPack faces in disrupting the $424 billion U.S. prescription drug market: In many cases, PillPack’s competitors are also gatekeepers that control access to patient data and payment rates from insurers … PillPack’s dispute with Surescripts indicates the challenges facing Amazon as it tries to rattle the consolidated and highly regulated world of prescription drugs, industry analysts said.”

Surescripts reportedly has referred the complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

It is a complicated story, and you can read it here.
KC's View:
I have no idea if PillPack has crossed any lines, but there is an element to this - traditional healthcare businesses pushing back against insurgent companies trying to reinvent the model - that sort of reminds me of financial services firms doing everything possible, including spending millions of lobbying, to make sure Walmart doesn’t acquire or open its own bank.

It sometimes can be a lot easier to buy a Congressman or enlist the FBI than it is to actually compete.