Antitrust advocates are worried about Amazon's telehealth push

A host of recent deals made by Amazon signal the tech giant's ambitions in telehealth, raising alarm bells for antitrust advocates who fear Amazon will dominate the market, Politico reported March 30. 

Amazon recently inked a deal with Teladoc to allow the service to be used through Alexa, and also expanded its own telehealth services nationwide. 

Idris Adjerid, PhD, a Virginia Tech professor of business information technology, told Politico that Amazon's ability to integrate services across its multiple offerings provides a competitive advantage. Its history of dominating key markets and leveraging its power makes antitrust advocates worry about its potential in telehealth.

Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and antitrust advocate, is concerned about Amazon's moves. She told Politico that if Amazon begins successfully doing business in healthcare and telehealth, dominating the market, they could potentially disadvantage those who rely on their business, thus violating antitrust laws. 

Amazon is also losing a lot of money through its healthcare ventures, but given its behemoth power in e-commerce and cloud computing, it can afford to, said Ms. Mitchell.

An Amazon spokesperson didn't comment on the antitrust advocate concerns, but did cite their commitment to keeping patient data private, saying; "any protected health information you share with Teladoc will be handled pursuant to HIPAA and Teladoc’s Notice of Privacy Practices."

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