Getting your prescription filled on time is vital for many people’s health.
One of the most popular phone applications for doing that is named GoodRx; in fact, 55 million Americans use that app. Even better, unless you want to pay $10 and get special extra promotions, the app is free.
Whereas now the dark truth is emerging about GoodRx and it’s becoming clearer why it’s “free.”
GoodRx Gets Busted
Every business has a business model. Every business wants to make money, but a big part of any legal operation of a business is being honest about what you do and how you make money.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is now accusing GoodRx of selling people’s private medical information to major tech companies like Google and Facebook.
They have been doing so without anyone’s consent or letting them know they were doing this. Many fitness programs and medical applications do this and the “free” price is them selling your data to advertisers and marketing companies.
They get paid handsomely for this service, but they also notify you they are sharing your data with third parties. Failure to notify is a crime and breaks federal law.
@NC5_JKraus #GoodRx busted by FTC for selling patient medical data to #Meta #Facebook and #Google https://t.co/JR9vf8PC1U
— Matthew Taber (@matthewtaber) February 1, 2023
GoodRx says it did nothing wrong, but has agreed to pay out $1.5 for breaking the law about not protecting health data. Naturally, some would ask why you would settle a case when you’re innocent of the charges.
Another important thing about this is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) doesn’t apply to the medical info that you share, input on apps, or search for online.
This whole case is bringing up troubling questions and comes at the same time that the FTC wants apps and online searches are being asked not to share personal health info.
This is particularly the case, for example, if someone is searching for abortion services in nearby states when it is illegal in their state and could cause them legal jeopardy.
In particular, GoodRx shared info about who was prescribed pills for erectile dysfunction and birth control so that companies like Facebook would know about it and be able to associate it with their profile.
This happened between 2017 and 2020.
GoodRx also allegedly shared info on user profiles of its users who were searching for information on sexually-transmitted diseases elsewhere so that big tech could cross-locate the info.
GoodRx is BadRx: Company is Fined for Sharing Health Data with Google and Facebook https://t.co/UUPlmrJ2og via @drewberquist
— Julius Matolek (@JMatolek) February 5, 2023
The Bottom Line
Personal medical privacy is a controversial subject and will become more contested as time goes on.
If you use GoodRx and similar apps, it is now time to take a good, long look at how much information you trust them with. They may be tracking your other searches online and sharing your private medical information with Big Tech.This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.