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Category Archives: Health Care

First FTC Health Breach Notification Rule case addresses GoodRx’s not-so-good privacy practices

FTC: “The company name may be GoodRx, but it’s unlikely that “good” is the adjective consumers would use to describe the way the company violated its privacy promises by disclosing their personal health information to companies like Facebook and Google without authorization. How did GoodRx accomplish that? By using automatic “plug and play” tracking pixels and software development kits (SDKs) from Facebook, Google, and other companies that are designed to grab a substantial amount of consumer data and turn it over for advertising purposes. In the case of GoodRx, this included consumers’ personal and health information. To settle the FTC’s first action alleging a violation of the Health Breach Notification Rule, GoodRx will pay a $1.5 million civil penalty. But there’s another first-of-its-kind provision in the proposed settlement sure to generate water cooler talk among app developers, privacy professionals, and others in the burgeoning health technology industry. Read on for details. GoodRx runs a digital health platform where consumers can compare prescription drug prices and get prescription drug coupons. It also offers a paid monthly subscription service, GoodRx Gold, which claims to offer greater discounts and virtual telehealth visits through a product called GoodRx Care. GoodRx collects a substantial amount of personal data – including highly sensitive health information – from consumers and from pharmacy benefit managers, which are companies that manage prescription drug benefits, confirming when someone uses a GoodRx coupon to get a prescription. Although the specific language has changed over the years, GoodRx has made numerous privacy promises to consumers. For example, in describing its use of third-party tracking tools, GoodRx assured people, “[W]e never provide advertisers or any other third parties any information that reveals a personal health condition or personal health information.” GoodRx also promised users that it “rarely shares” personal health information with third parties, and when it does, it “ensures that these third parties are bound to comply with federal standards as to how to treat ‘medical data’ that is linked with your name, contact information and other personal identifiers.” In addition, GoodRx stated it would share users’ personal  information only for certain limited administrative functions – for example, “to provide services directly to users,” “to comply with the law or legal process,” “to act in an emergency to protect someone’s safety,” or “to handle customer requests.” To use a phrase we’ve had to repeat with troubling frequency in recent blog posts, that’s what the company promised, but the FTC says what GoodRx was doing behind the scenes contradicted those soothing assurances. According to the complaint, beginning in at least 2017, GoodRx broke its privacy promises by sharing information about users’ prescription meds, health conditions, and personal information – like contact information and personal identifiers – with some of the biggest names in digital advertising…”

LLRX January 2023 Issue – Articles and Columns

2023 Healthcare MiniGuide – Marcus P. Zillman’s guide addresses the challenging landscape of healthcare information that proliferates on the internet. A large measure of the information hosted on self described authoritative health and healthcare sites is grounded in speculative, e-commerce drive subject matter. Search engines drive traffic to these sites with no transparent and accountable… Continue Reading

Time Savings When Working from Home

NBER – Time Savings When Working from Home – Cevat Giray Aksoy, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Mathias Dolls & Pablo Zarate. Working Paper 30866. DOI 10.3386/w30866. Issue Date January 2023. “We quantify the commute time savings associated with work from home, drawing on data for 27 countries. The average daily time… Continue Reading

New Online Tool Provides Health Snapshot of All 435 U.S. Congressional Districts

“Today, researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), unveiled the Congressional District Health Dashboard (CDHD), a new online tool that provides critical health data for all 435 congressional districts and the District of Columbia. The dashboard incorporates 36 key measures of health, such as deaths from… Continue Reading

Mass Attacks in Public Spaces: 2016 – 2020

Mass Attacks in Public Spaces: 2016 – 2020. National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC). U.S. Secret Service U.S. Department of Homeland Security January 2023. “…The 173 attacks contained in this report impacted a variety of locations, including businesses/workplaces, schools, houses of worship, military bases, nonprofit service providers, residential complexes, public transportation, and open spaces. In many… Continue Reading

We Profiled the ‘Signs of Crisis’ in 50 Years of Mass Shootings. This Is What We Found.

The New York Times – “These are abridged details from profiles of the suspected or convicted perpetrators of more than 150 mass shootings in the United States. The profiles are based on news reports, public documents and our conversations with the shooters’ friends, colleagues, social workers and teachers. These events have become more frequent and… Continue Reading

Is It Equitable to Protect Corporate Leaders From Covid-19 More than Employees and Customers?

Via LLRX – Is It Equitable to Protect Corporate Leaders From Covid-19 More than Employees and Customers? Augie Ray asks a simple question to encourage you to think more about #COVID19 risks and engage in a discussion about equity in the workplace: If the world’s top business leaders recognize and take precautions against COVID during… Continue Reading

New NYSIF Report: Long Covid

“New York state Insurance Fund has released a report [Shining A Light on Long Covid: an Analysis of Workers Compensation Data] analyzing its Covid-19 workers’ compensation claims to shine a light on Long Covid, a multifaceted syndrome causing new, returning, or ongoing symptoms in people after their initial infection. “As a large insurer with a… Continue Reading

Amazon launches RxPass

TechCrunch: “Amazon launches RxPass, a $5/month Prime add-on for all-you-need generic drugs covering 80 conditions…Prime users in the U.S. can pay a monthly flat fee of $5 to get as many generic versions of medications as they need. Amazon said that initially the service will cover generic drugs for 80 common ailments — they include,… Continue Reading

Is plastic recycling a scam? Here’s the truth about the common practice

Inverse: “A report found only 5 percent of plastic gets recycled. Experts explain what that means for the American consumer. Last fall, a Greenpeace report on plastic recycling made headlines around the world when news outlets led with the publication’s striking key finding: Only five percent of plastic household waste generated in the U.S. was… Continue Reading

What the Longest Study on Human Happiness Found Is the Key to a Good Life

The Atlantic – “The Harvard Study of Adult Development has established a strong correlation between deep relationships and well-being. The question is, how does a person nurture those deep relationships? Since 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has been investigating what makes people flourish. After starting with 724 participants—boys from disadvantaged and troubled families… Continue Reading