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FTC alleges GoodRx shared consumer’s health info with Facebook… – Modern Healthcare

FTC alleges GoodRx shared consumer’s health info with Facebook… – Modern Healthcare

The Federal Trade Commission is alleging GoodRx shared consumers’ personal health information to Fb, Google and other third parties.

The Department of Justice, on behalf of the FTC, filed a complaint and proposed order for permanent injunction against the particular company Wednesday. Under the order, GoodRx would be prohibited from sharing health information with third parties and be fined $1. 5 million. The particular order, which the consumer drug price comparison and digital health company agreed to, requires the approved by the particular U. S.   District Court with regard to the Northern District of California.    

It is the first time the FTC has enforced its 2009 Health Breach Notification Rule, which requires companies that collect plus share consumers’ health info to notify those consumers. The move will likely serve as a warning shot to other digital health companies that will share personal health data with 3rd parties.  

In a statement, GoodRx said the company does not agree with the FTC’s allegations and it admits no wrongdoing. The company said entering into the settlement will help it avoid the period and expense of protracted litigation.

According to the FTC, GoodRx allegedly compiled lists associated with users purchasing medication and uploaded their email addresses, phone numbers plus mobile advertising IDs in order to Facebook in August 2019 so it could identify their own profiles. GoodRx then allegedly used that information to target these users with health-related advertisements on Facebook and Instagram.  

“Digital health companies and mobile apps should not cash within on consumer’s extremely sensitive and personally identifiable health details, ” stated Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s bureau associated with consumer protection, in a news release. “The FTC is serving notice that will it will use all of its legal authority to protect American consumers’ delicate data from misuse and illegal exploitation. ”   

GoodRx mentioned usage of the Facebook Javascript tracking pixel is common among consumer, healthcare and government websites. It said the particular information shared was not medical information but IP addresses plus webpage URL information related to looking at content.

FTC also alleged that GoodRx shared information with Google, Criteo , Twilio and Branch. An FTC spokesperson said the proposed purchase requires third parties that received GoodRx’s data in order to delete it. The spokesperson did not really provide details on how the agency might enforce such directives.  

The FTC also alleged GoodRx misrepresented its compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 to consumers using its telehealth platform. The company sold its backend virtual technology in order to Wheel Health , a virtual health platform and provider network, for $19. 5 million in cash in November 2022.  

In May 2022, GoodRx disclosed that it had been under investigation since March 2020 by the FTC for the data-sharing tactics with third-party services providers. In its earnings statement from Ma y, GoodRx said FTC staffers notified the company in October 2021 it intended to recommend that the agency pursue an enforcement action. At the particular time, GoodRx said it was sent the draft complaint in January and planned to defend itself.    

An FTC spokesperson declined to comment on whether other digital health companies were under investigation.

The actions follow a policy statement issued by the FTC within September 2021 warning  wellness apps they must comply with the rule.  

GoodRx has had a challenging year financially. The company said in its third quarter income report within November that its total revenue decreased 4% in order to $187. 3 million through $195. 1 million in the corresponding period last year. Its  prescriptions transactions business, which is GoodRx’s largest source of revenue, fell 16% from $155. 7 mil to $131. 2 million.    

Over the particular last 12 months, the FTC has become more involved in its scrutiny associated with digital health companies. Last August, it  filed a lawsuit alleging data broker, Kochava   was selling geolocation   information from hundreds of millions of mobile phones that could be tracked to abortion clinics and possibly identify medical professionals who performed the procedures. Kochava’s general manager Brian Cox said in a statement  the particular FTC desired a settlement and characterized its process as “flamboyant” and “frivolous. ” .  

In June 2021 the FTC settled with Flo Health, a period plus ovulation tracking company, after it failed to obtain users’ consent before sharing their personal health information with Facebook, Google and other companies.    


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