The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on February 1, 2023 that it has settled, for $1.5M, its first enforcement action under its Health Breach Notification Rule against GoodRx Holdings, Inc., a telehealth and prescription drug provider.
According to the press release, the FTC alleged that GoodRx failed “to notify consumers and others of its unauthorized disclosures of consumers’ personal health information to Facebook, Google, and other companies.”
In the proposed federal court order (the Order), GoodRx will be “prohibited from sharing user health data with applicable third parties for advertising purposes.” The complaint alleged that GoodRx told consumers that it would not share personal health information, and it monetized users’ personal health information by sharing consumers’ information with third parties such as Facebook and Instagram to help target users with ads for personalized health and medication-specific ads.
The complaint also alleged that GoodRx “compiled lists of its users who had purchased particular medications such as those used to treat heart disease and blood pressure, and uploaded their email addresses, phone numbers, and mobile advertising IDs to Facebook so it could identify their profiles. GoodRx then used that information to target these users with health-related advertisements.” It also alleges that those third parties then used the information received from GoodRx for their own internal purposes to improve the effectiveness of the advertising.
The proposed Order must be approved by a federal court before it can take effect. To address the FTC’s allegations, the Order prohibits the sharing of health data for ads; requires user consent for any other sharing; stipulates that the company must direct third parties to delete consumer health data; limits the retention of data; and implement a mandated privacy program. Click here to read the press release.