Frequently Asked Questions
What does Surescripts do?
Surescripts serves the nation with the single most trusted and capable health information network built to increase patient safety, lower costs and ensure quality care. We deliver patient information to healthcare providers to enable safer and more affordable prescriptions and help them make more informed care decisions.
What is a health information network and why is it important?
Surescripts is a nationwide network that connects doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others, so they can securely communicate with each other as a team, sharing healthcare information, such as e-prescriptions, health records, and clinical documents, to reduce errors, improve efficiency and save money.
Who is part of the Surescripts network?
The Surescripts network includes virtually all EHR software vendors, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmacies and clinicians, plus an increasing number of health plans, long-term and post-acute care organizations and specialty pharmacy organizations. As a two-sided network, Surescripts serves the multiple interests of participants across the healthcare marketplace, and is open to any user that meets our certification and implementation requirements.
What is the FTC’s claim?
The FTC has filed a complaint focused on certain provisions of our electronic prescribing and eligibility contracts that they allege are anti-competitive.
What is Surescripts' response?
We continue to be disappointed at the allegations made by the Federal Trade Commission. We wholeheartedly share the FTC’s focus on lowering healthcare costs, and we have achieved significant reductions with e-prescribing for many years. However, the FTC’s complaint makes significant factual errors about Surescripts’ business and mischaracterizes the economic realities of the e-prescribing market. As such, our Counsel has filed a Motion to Dismiss based on the facts and merits of the case.
It is important to highlight that while the cost of American healthcare overall continues to rise, Surescripts has reduced the cost of e-prescribing by 70% since 2009, a goal we will continue to focus on as a critical part of our business. And, since 2016 we have driven a 64% improvement in the accuracy of the more than five million electronic prescriptions we process each day. There is no question that e-prescribing has brought enormous value to patients and clinicians alike through innovations in accuracy, safety and convenience.
We take seriously our role in helping serve patients and the people who care for them, and we are confident that our business practices support that goal. And, our business continues to evolve, including our removal of loyalty provisions from our agreements with pharmacies.
Our number one focus remains serving our customers who make up the Surescripts Network Alliance. Together we are leading the important transition to NCPDP SCRIPT standard v2017071 and the implementation of electronic prescribing of controlled substances to digitize prescriptions that help address the opioid crisis. We are also dedicated to further increasing prescription accuracy and driving innovations that promote ongoing decreases in the price of electronic prescribing.
Why did Surescripts file a motion to dismiss the FTC’s complaint?
We wholeheartedly share the FTC’s focus on lowering healthcare costs, and we have achieved significant reductions with e-prescribing for many years. However, we continue to be disappointed at the allegations in the FTC’s complaint, which relies on significant factual errors about Surescripts’ business and mischaracterizes the economic realities of the e-prescribing market. We brought our motion to dismiss to address these factual errors and mischaracterizations.
What are the errors in the FTC’s complaint?
The FTC’s complaint makes a number of significant factual errors about our business. In particular, Surescripts’ contract with Epic, an electronic health record (EHR) company, has never contained a loyalty agreement. In addition, our contracts allow EHRs to freely terminate their loyalty agreement without penalty and with just six months’ notice.
How does the FTC complaint mischaracterize the economic realities of the e-prescribing market?
The FTC acknowledges that e-prescribing is a two-sided market, with significant indirect network effects. But, the FTC relies on a theory that ignores the way a two-sided market, like e-prescribing, works. The FTC does not and cannot show how Surescripts could have simultaneously further lowered prices to pharmacies, further increased payments to EHRs and still ensured that both sides of the network created sufficient value to make e-prescribing viable.
Will this impact the operations of the Surescripts network?
No. The Surescripts network remains connected and active, enabling the safe and secure exchange of critical health information.