By Jim Campbell
July 1st, 2018
“Nobody reads the notice of privacy practices,” said Ryan Stark, senior privacy attorney with the law firm of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth.
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Don’t look for HIPPA to give up their control anytime soon.
If Amazon could pull this off, it would be a death blow to most brick an mortar pharmacies.
He said Amazon likely would need to wall off PillPack from its larger operation, otherwise it might have to take steps to ensure the entire business meets federal privacy standards, which govern everything from who has access to data to how user passwords are encrypted.
This technology would be particularly useful for the elderly who tend to take more medicine(s)
Also I can see the benefit of being able to monitor drug-drug interactions or contra indications.
How often does a patient see more than one physician? Often.
An Amazon spokeswoman said the company will comply with HIPAA, as well as with all other laws and regulations.
If they don’t this will be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Immediately it comes to mind as a 4th Amendment issue. (Source)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
ByLaura Stevens and Sharon Terlep
Amazon’s PillPack Deal Gives It Access to Sensitive Health Data
Amazon, master of shopping behavior, will now know prescriptions
Photo: BEN MARGOT/Associated Press
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -0.10% knows more about consumers’ online-shopping habits than any other retailer. Now it is about to get its hands on the most intimate of personal data: people’s health conditions.
Last week’s acquisition of online pharmacy startup PillPack will give Amazon insight into people’s prescriptions, putting the tech company into the highly regulated realm of health information with more restrictions than it is accustomed to on data-mining.
Amazon has mastered the use of personal data by analyzing people’s purchasing decisions to predict whether they might buy toilet paper, watch a romantic comedy or ask its Alexa voice assistant for a recipe. The behavioral tracking has helped turn it into a retailing powerhouse with $178 billion in revenue last year.
Please see the entire article below.
But collecting and safeguarding medical information is far more complex than tracking when an online shopper buys a new lamp.
“Prescription drug information is highly personal information—it can tell if someone has cancer, if they have a sexually transmitted disease,” said Julie Roth, a health-care regulatory attorney with Spencer Fane LLP in Overland Park, Kan. That may raise some privacy concerns, she said.
Amazon’s purchase of PillPack gives it the ability to ship prescriptions to customers’ homes in 49 states. It paid roughly $1 billion in cash for the company and beat out Walmart Inc. in the process, according to people familiar with the matter.
The European Union and state of California both recently passed stricter regulations around data collection, and consumers are becoming savvier about what companies know about them.
PillPack gives Amazon the chance to lure consumers away from the local pharmacy and win all the store purchases that can come with the trip.
Amazon will be limited in what it can do, especially to start. PillPack’s specialty—packaging a month’s supply of pills for chronic-disease patients—is a small part of the overall market. It has said it has tens of thousands of customers versus Amazon’s hundreds of millions.
The health-care market is highly regulated. While marketers can freely exchange data on consumers’ nonprescription purchases, demographics and browsing activity, the federal government tightly controls the privacy of medical information through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
Companies can’t sell patient data to another party or market complementary products based on a person’s health condition—like sending coupons for diapers to a woman with a prescription for prenatal vitamins.
The federal privacy act does allow companies to share information about patients for marketing purposes, but only with the patient’s consent. That consent could be given when patients simply check a box on privacy disclosures that come with most medical transactions.
CVS has a rewards program in which shoppers get $5 to spend in CVS stores for every 10 prescriptions filled. Customers must sign a waiver to participate and, even with that consent, the only information shared with the retail side of the business is the number of prescriptions filled, without details on the medications themselves.
The federal privacy act was created specifically to prevent marketers from unwittingly targeting people based on what medical services they access, said Ms. Roth, the regulatory attorney.
Amazon already has insight into people’s health by tracking consumers’ browsing and shopping habits. A shopper who has suffered from health issues may have purchased over-the-counter medicines and vitamins, plus medical equipment like a heating pad or humidifier. Amazon can potentially surmise when that person is sick, because they order tissues and cold medicine for two-hour delivery via Prime Now. They may watch Prime Video that day too, as they lie on the couch, and ask Alexa for tips on a faster recovery.