In a letter despatched to the Federal Commerce Fee this previous week, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., requested the regulatory company to look extra intently on the proposed $3.9 billion merger between Amazon and One Medical.
“I notice that the FTC is at the moment engaged in quite a few efforts to fight America’s accelerating financial focus and the ability of tech behemoths,” Hawley wrote. “However, I urge you to prioritize a looking out overview of this specific transaction.”
The acquisition would “present Amazon with entry to monumental tranches of affected person knowledge,” mentioned the senator.
Whereas he acknowledged that HIPAA and different privateness legal guidelines would possibly “thwart the worst potential abuses,” Hawley additionally identified that “loopholes exist in each authorized framework.”
Some situations, “as soon as written off as scaremongering fictions, at the moment are a really actual risk,” he mentioned. “As an illustration, if a person is identified with hypertension by a One Medical physician, will he later be marketed over-the-counter blood stress medicines each time he outlets at Complete Meals Market?”
There are at the moment no FDA-approved OTC medicines for hypertension.
Hawley additionally mentioned the deal would additional reinforce Amazon’s market dominance, probably reshaping the ability dynamic of the first care house.
“It doesn’t matter if the first care market as such is presently aggressive: by having its hand in dozens of smaller markets, Amazon positions itself to finally emerge because the dominant participant in every, as cross-subsidization permits Amazon to supply providers at a loss and data-driven community results permit Amazon to market at a degree its opponents can not match.”
He closed his letter by asking the FTC to seek out solutions to a number of questions, together with:
What, if any, firewalls does Amazon intend to ascertain between affected person knowledge and retail buyer knowledge?
What merchandise does Amazon intend to develop within the wake of this acquisition?
“Individuals’ privateness and security at the moment are on the road in a completely new method,” Hawley wrote. “Amazon shouldn’t be allowed to purchase its method into this trade.”