FTC official, Health News, ET HealthWorld

US will not challenge Amazon's plan to buy One Medical: FTC official

New Delhi: The US Federal Trade Commission will not file a complaint aimed at stopping Amazon.com’s plan to buy primary care provider One Medical, an FTC official said on Wednesday.

Amazon.com Inc said in July it would buy One Medical for $3.49 billion, expanding the e-commerce giant’s virtual healthcare business and adding brick-and-mortar doctors’ offices for the first time.

Amazon declined comment about the FTC decision.

The FTC official said the agency planned to send a pre-consummation warning letter that would say it still had specific concerns about the deal. Antitrust agencies can, and sometimes do, file complaints to undo mergers that have closed.

The official said the agency would watch for any potential harm to competition as well as how consumer data was used.

The deal is part of Amazon’s long-running ambition to delve deeper into healthcare, helping consumers receive more efficient medical advice and medicines. The company has yet to disrupt the complex industry as it has book and other retail sales.

The online retailer first piloted virtual care visits for its own staff in Seattle in 2019 before offering services to other employers under the Amazon Care brand, which it has since said that it would wind down.

Amazon likewise bought online pharmacy PillPack in 2018, underpinning a prescription delivery and price-comparison site it later launched.

One Medical is in more than a dozen US markets and gives members access to virtual care at any time of the day or night. It provides services to the employees of some 8,500 companies.

The FTC is also probing Amazon.com’s plan to buy Roomba maker iRobot Corp for $1.7 billion. Senator Elizabeth Warren has urged that the deal be stopped.

Separate from the merger probes, the FTC has been investigating Amazon.com since mid-2019 amid allegations that the company abuses its dominance of online retail.

That probe was part of a series of investigations into Big Tech begun by the FTC and Justice Department during the Trump administration. They have resulted in two lawsuits against Alphabet’s Google and one against Meta’s Facebook.

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