Hello Health’s Hien Lane on RxPass, the ACCC's Influencer Crackdown, and Google Vs DOJ

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Hien Lane, senior vice president, APAC regional partnerships at Hello Health Group, joins ExchangeWire staff writer Hannah Dillon and head of content John Still. Together, the trio discuss Amazon's launch of a subscription medication service, the ACCC's sweep of undisclosed influencer brand deals, the DOJ's antitrust suit against Google, and more.

Amazon launch medicine subscription service

Is this a natural move for Amazon, and will it benefit consumers? What privacy concerns could emerge from this?

Amazon has announced a new service that will deliver medication on a subscription basis. The RxPass service will cost USD $5 (~£4.06), and is set to launch only in the US, where the fee can be added to existing Prime plans. Subscribers will be able to order prescription medication to treat a number of common conditions, including high blood pressure, allergies, and anaemia. 

RxPass will operate under Amazon Pharmacy, which opened in 2020 and offers online pharmaceutical services. The ecommerce giant made its foray into the healthcare space with the launch of telehealth service Amazon Health Care in 2019, though the service was replaced with Amazon Clinic at the close of 2022. 

ACCC clamp down on undeclared ad partnerships

How important is this move by the ACCC? Could this move prompt brands to step back from influencer marketing?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is clamping down on influencers who have posted undisclosed ads or sponsorship deals. The watchdog is apparently already investigating more than 100 potential offenders after scouring multiple social media platforms, focusing on areas where influencer advertising is particularly prevalent (such as health and fitness, wellbeing, travel, and food and drink).

Commission chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said that the campaign is scrutinising new and established influencers, and that the body has received 150 reports after asking consumers to identify incidents of influencers failing to disclose ad deals. Advertisers, social media platforms, and brands will also be examined over their roles in such incidents, Cass-Gottlieb revealed. The campaign is set to continue until 3rd February.

US DOJ sues Google over advertising dominance

Is this the beginning of the end for Google? Do you think this is a watershed moment in the regulation of big tech?

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a lawsuit against Google, accusing the tech giant of holding a monopoly over digital advertising. In an official press release published last week, the DOJ revealed that the complaint alleges that the Alphabet-owned firm has “engaged in a course of anticompetitive and exclusionary conduct” — including buying out competitors, forcing advertisers and publishers to use Google products, and stifling rival offerings — which has given the company a dominant market position.

The complaint asserts that Google owns some of the most widely-used solutions in all areas of programmatic – publisher ad server, advertiser ad network, and ad exchange. The release states that the DOJ is seeking compensation for a “civil antitrust violation” (the first case to do so in around fifty years), and that the authority hopes that the suit will “restore competition” within the open web and “obtain equitable and monetary relief on behalf of the American public”.