Telemedicine company GoodRx shared sensitive personal health information with Google, Facebook and other companies to serve targeted ads to users, according to a complaint filed Wednesday by federal regulators. It has been with.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allows GoodRx, a company that allows users to compare drug prices and receive coupons, to share sensitive information about their users’ prescriptions and health conditions with advertising platforms, allowing them to access certain health conditions. and pharmaceutical ads to target users. , even though the company claims it doesn’t.
The order, filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, prohibits GoodRx from sharing health data with advertisers. Additionally, third parties such as Google and Facebook must be instructed by the company to delete previously shared data.
In addition to the proposed actions, GoodRx agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine, according to the FTC.
This order is subject to federal court approval.
This is the first enforcement action the FTC has taken under the Health Breach Notification Rule, and personal health record vendors and related entities will be prohibited from consuming consumer health records if that data is disclosed or obtained without the consumer’s permission. You must notify your employer and the FTC.
Under its chair, Rina Khan, the committee voted in line with party policy in September 2021 to clarify rules extending to digital health tools such as apps and connected devices.
FTC officials say businesses, if they didn’t pay attention to the rule in the past, will now. The official said the order filed against GoodRx shows the industry that the agency is not taking the issue lightly.
Regulators alleged that GoodRx violated rules by sharing data with companies including Google, Facebook, Criteo, Branch and Twilio.
For example, the agency compiled a list of users who purchased certain heart and blood pressure medications in August 2019 and provided Facebook with contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and mobile advertising IDs to identify them. Claims to have uploaded. profile.
The platform then used that information to target those users with health-related ads, according to the complaint.
In a statement, GoodRX said it disagreed with the FTC’s allegations and did not admit wrongdoing as part of the agreement.
“Entering into the settlement will allow us to avoid the time and expense of protracted litigation. ,” said the company.
FTC officials said the order would have a big impact on the market by making it clear that companies face consequences if they misuse consumer health data.
Officials declined to comment on other potential cases or companies investigating rule violations.