Sen. Josh Hawley Asks FTC to Investigate Amazon Deal to Buy Medical Clinic Chain

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) recently sent a letter to the FTC requesting a review of the proposed $3.9 billion merger between Amazon and One Medical, a chain of medical clinics whose acquisition would mark Amazon’s latest move to take over the healthcare industry.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked the FTC in a recent letter to investigate the proposed $3.9 billion buyout deal between Amazon and One Medical.

Hawley wrote in the letter, “I realize that the FTC is currently engaged in numerous efforts to combat America’s accelerating economic concentration and the power of tech behemoths. Nevertheless, I urge you to prioritize a searching review of this particular transaction.”

Hawley stated that the acquisition would “provide Amazon with access to enormous tranches of patient data,” and while he acknowledged that HIPAA and other privacy laws could “thwart the worst potential abuses,” he noted that “loopholes exist in every legal framework.”

Hawley stated that some privacy-related scenarios “once written off as scaremongering fictions, are now a very real possibility.” Hawley provided one scenario, stating: “For instance, if an individual is diagnosed with high blood pressure by a One Medical doctor, will he later be advertised over-the-counter blood pressure medications whenever he shops at Whole Foods Market?”

Hawley also claimed that the deal would reinforce Amazon’s market dominance and may even reshape the power dynamic of the primary care space.

“It doesn’t matter if the primary care market as such is presently competitive: by having its hand in dozens of smaller markets, Amazon positions itself to eventually emerge as the dominant player in each, as cross-subsidization allows Amazon to offer services at a loss and data-driven network effects allow Amazon to market at a level its competitors cannot match,” Hawley stated.


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