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Amazon Scoops Up PillPack in Possible Population Health Play

Amazon has purchased home delivery pharmacy company PillPack, potentially as a way to support population health management efforts within its new healthcare transformation venture.

Amazon pharmacy and population health

Source: Amazon

By Jennifer Bresnick

- Rumors of Amazon’s entry into the prescription drug distribution market have not been greatly exaggerated.  The e-commerce giant today announced the acquisition of PillPack, a company that offers home delivery of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

“PillPack’s visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology,” says Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer.

“PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers’ lives, and we want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier. We’re excited to see what we can do together on behalf of customers over time.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, though sources familiar with the deal hinted that the purchase price was close to $1 billion, according to TechCrunch.  The outlet also confirmed that Walmart had been in talks to buy PillPack, but lost out to its competitor.

The acquisition of the pharmacy company, which offers refills and renewal coordination services alongside pre-sorted packets of vitamins, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter supplements, fits in well with Amazon’s consumer-focused strategies.

The deal comes just weeks after CVS Pharmacy announced next-day nationwide home delivery services for prescription drug customers, a few months after the revelation that CVS Health is buying Aetna, and mere days after Amazon announced Dr. Atul Gawande as the CEO of its joint healthcare improvement venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase.

Offering automatic refills and home delivery of prescription drugs could be a vital component of the still-nameless company’s potential chronic disease management and preventive care strategies. 

Amazon could easily expand the reach of PillPack’s services through its mature distribution and delivery network, or even integrate personalized vitamin and supplement packs into a “food as medicine” offering in conjunction with its Whole Foods grocery stores. 

The prescription refill service could also be accessible through Amazon Alexa, which is already moving towards becoming a home health companion for customers with chronic disease management needs.

The result may be a streamlined, consumer-friendly population health management ecosystem that has the potential to raise the convenience factor of managing multiple prescriptions and complying with medication adherence protocols.

“PillPack makes it simple for any customer to take the right medication at the right time, and feel healthier,” said TJ Parker, co-founder and CEO of PillPack.

“Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the healthcare industry to help people throughout the US who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience.”

The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2018, both companies said.

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