The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday filed a court order against GoodRx, alleging it failed to notify users that it shared their sensitive data with Facebook and Google, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, the District of Columbia, and Massachusetts.
- California: FTC on Wednesday filed a court order against GoodRx, alleging that it failed to notify users that it shared their sensitive data with Facebook and Google. According to FTC, GoodRx's information-sharing practices violated a federal rule that requires health apps and fitness trackers that gather personal health information to notify consumers of data breaches. If the court order gains federal approval, the agency said it would permanently ban GoodRx from sharing consumers' information for ads. "Digital health companies and mobile apps should not cash in on consumers' extremely sensitive and personally identifiable health information," said Samuel Levine, director of FTC's bureau of consumer protection. "The FTC is serving notice that it will use all of its legal authority to protect American consumers' sensitive data from misuse and illegal exploitation." Notably, the agency fined GoodRx with a $1.5 million civil penalty. While GoodRx agreed to settle, it said it does not agree with FTC's allegations and does not admit any wrongdoing. The order "focuses on an old issue that was proactively addressed almost three years ago," according to a spokesperson for GoodRx. "We admit no wrongdoing," they added. "Entering into the settlement allows us to avoid the time and expense of protracted litigation." (Singer, New York Times, 2/1; Brodwin, Axios, 2/1; Turner, Modern Healthcare, 2/1)
- District of Columbia: The Biden administration on Thursday announced new initiatives on the first anniversary of the "Cancer Moonshot" program. Under a partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), families with children fighting cancer will be able to access clinical and patient navigation support to help them find the best care by connecting them with research trials and shareable health records. In addition, the White House announced $10 million in funding through the Health Resources and Services Administration to connect 22 community health centers with NCI-designated cancer centers—a move that will provide cancer screenings for underserved communities. (Reed, Axios, 2/2)
- Massachusetts: In a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that complete vaccination with the four-component, protein-based meningococcal serogroup B vaccine effectively prevented invasive serogroup B and non-serogroup B disease in children younger than 5. According to Jesus Castilla of the Instituto de Salud Pública de Navarra and his colleagues, complete vaccination was 76% effective against invasive meningococcal disease caused by any serogroup among 306 case patients and 1,224 matched control cases. Effectiveness among children who received one dose of the vaccine was 54%. Meanwhile, complete vaccination was 71% effective against meningococcal serogroup B disease, and partial vaccination was 50% effective. For non-serogroup B disease, these rates were 92% and 58%, respectively. "This evidence may be useful in making decisions about the inclusion of this vaccine in the immunization program of countries where invasive meningococcal disease in children is problematic and its prevention a priority," Castilla and his colleagues wrote. (Hein, MedPage Today, 2/1)