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Cyberattack cripples U.S. Medical Prescribing System

Accepted submission by datapharmer at 2024-02-22 19:45:48 from the who could have known monopolies are bad dept.

As reported byTech Crunch [], a cyber attack has crippled the systems used to process eScripts and Prescription billing for most of the Nation. Change Healthcare, a Subsidiary of Optum, which is in turn a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. Few details have emerged on exactly what happened, but the company's status page [] states that "Once we became aware of the outside threat, in the interest of protecting our partners and patients, we took immediate action to disconnect our systems to prevent further impact." As of 2020 there were several competing "switches" which are essentially APIs for processing claims between pharmacies and carriers and transferring prescription information from physicians to pharmacies, but McKesson, who acquired the competing RelayHealth [] solution in 2006, sold it to UnitedHealth in 2020 [] as they divested in their tech division. This was initially fought by the DOJ as anti-competitive [] since it gave potential access to competitor's trade secrets, but DOJ gave up on the case in March of last year, which in retrospect seems like the wrong decision.

Pharmacists across the country are reporting issues [] receiving and billing prescriptions, and some hospital workers even report having to turn away cancer patients due to an inability to bill for their medication [].

Hopefully this incident will be resolved quickly, and subsequently result in regulators revisiting their decisions and the impact it has on citizens' health and safety.

Original Submission