3. The monopolization of patient drug data
Few things are more valuable in health care than data — specifically prescription data. Surescripts, a company that allows prescriptions to be filled electronically, controls a lot of that data and has every incentive to keep it gated, Axios’ Bob Herman reports.
Driving the news: Surescripts is asking the FBI to investigate allegations that one of its vendors illegally shared patients' medication histories with Amazon's online pharmacy, PillPack.
- It's a fight that highlights how difficult it has become for patients to share their own drug data and how incumbent players protect their turf.
How we got here: Surescripts contracted with a reseller called ReMy Health, which gave doctors and hospitals access to data on the drugs patients take or used to take.
Yes, but: Surescripts does not allow pharmacies to access medication history data. That means pharmacists, like those at PillPack, who want to verify someone's prescriptions have to spend the time contacting doctors instead of going directly to Surescripts.
- Here, Surescripts is alleging ReMy Health was sending that data to PillPack in violation of their contract and that PillPack was requesting data through providers who had never seen its patients.
The other side: ReMy Health did not respond to requests for comment. A PillPack spokesperson said the company's patients gave explicit consent to obtain medication histories.
The bottom line: Something as simple as making sure someone is taking the right medications isn't that simple when there are billions of dollars up for grabs.