FTC Investigating, but Not Thwarting, Amazon Acquisition of One Medical
Yesterday Amazon closed its $3.9 billion deal to acquire the parent company of concierge health care provider One Medical without being halted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which failed to sue in time to block the deal. The agency says it will continue investigating the transaction.
“The commission will continue to look at possible harms to competition created by this merger as well as possible harms to consumers that may result from Amazon’s control and use of sensitive consumer health information held by One Medical,” said FTC spokesman Douglas Farrar earlier this week.
Though Amazon’s previous forays into health care disruption have been unsuccessful—hybrid telehealth/in-person provider Amazon Care flatlined three years after starting, as did Haven, a joint venture between Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway—One Medical is more tried and true, with an existing customer base of nearly 800,000. Its selling proposition is that it provides same-day and next-day appointments; in-app prescription renewals; in-app messaging with your doctor; aesthetically pleasing and centrally located offices; and appointments that actually start on time. (I used to be a customer, and can attest to the fact that appointments really did start on time, even in busy New York City.)
Last month, Amazon announced that it has ventured into providing commonly used prescription drugs—think Wellbutrin and Lipitor, but generic—with RxPass, which charges a flat rate of $5 per month for unlimited medicines (which one must have a prescription for, of course), available to Prime members and fulfilled through Amazon Pharmacy.
But the FTC “plans to issue a letter to the companies warning them that the investigation remains open despite the expiration of the statutory deadline for the antitrust review,” said people familiar with the agency’s decision, according to Bloomberg‘s Leah Nylen.
FTC Chair Lina Khan is, after all, one of Amazon’s biggest critics. “The current framework in antitrust—specifically its pegging com
Article from Reason.com