Surescripts’ Fight With Amazon Escalates

Surescripts’ battle with Amazon-owned (NASDAQ: AMZN) PillPack has escalated to a new level. Surescripts is accusing a company called ReMy Health of providing PillPack with patient prescription information “fraudulently” in violation of the companies’ contracts and has announced that it would be turning the matter over to the FBI. Surescripts is owned by an association of pharmacies and chain drugstores that are PillPack competitors, including Cigna Corp., CVS, and ExpressScripts.

Amazon acquired online pharmacy start-up PillPack for about $1 billion in 2018 in a bid to enter the prescription drug market. The announcement of the deal resulted in shares of pharmacy owners and pharmacy benefit managers falling. Since then, there have been a string of disputes between Amazon and established pharmacy companies.

This latest dispute focuses on how PillPack gets information about customers’ prescriptions. Surescripts says that ReMy claimed to be getting the prescription information for “providers caring for patients in hospitals,” when in fact it was providing it to PillPack in violation of its contract. Last fall, Surescripts noticed that almost all of ReMy’s requests for patient medication history were linked to a single national provider identifier, or NPI.

The company says that the requests for medication history never came from PillPack’s NPI. Surescripts CEO Tom Skelton said in a statement, “Either ReMy Health or its customers concealed unauthorized access to the Surescripts network by fraudulently using third-party providers’ identifying information to access the system — even though those providers appear to be entirely unrelated to the patients whose information was requested.”

According to Surescripts, “We are still investigating the full scope of these improper activities but today are taking immediate steps to protect the data our partners entrusted to us and the privacy of our patients they serve. Specifically, we have suspended ReMy Health from our network, are terminating their contract, and are turning the matter over to the FBI for further investigation.”