Tuesday, 18 September, 2018

Amazon Plans To Buy Online Pharmacy

19 2018 shows the logo of online retail company Amazon displayed on a tablet screen in Paris Modal Trigger Getty Images
Samantha Long | 03 July, 2018, 00:46

Rapper Nasir "Nas" Jones' venture capital fund scored another victory on Thursday with Amazon's announcement that it had acquired online pharmacy PillPack for a reported $1 billion.

PillPack delivers prescription drugs to customers' doors. The company delivers medications to customers in pre-sorted doses created to make it easier for people to take multiple medications a day. PillPack uses PharmacyOS, a software platform created entirely in-house, to help manage each customer's medications, coordinate refills and renewals, and make sure each shipment is sent on time, every time. PillPack had reportedly been in talks with Walmart - one of Amazon's big rivals - for an acquisition, and we confirmed that this was indeed the case.

CVS reported prescription sales of $59.5 billion a year ago, and Walgreens sold $57.8 billion worth of drugs in its fiscal 2017.

Shares of drug wholesalers McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen also fell sharply.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed by Amazon, but sources close to the deal say it was for just under $1 billion. Hill sees supply-chain stocks potentially trading below 10 times their price-to-earnings multiples as competition heats up.

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With PillPack's processes and knowledge of the industry and Amazon's vast network of resources, the deal could provoke a moment of genuine disruption in healthcare, which is already going through a digital metamorphosis.

With its far-reaching and widely popular online site, Amazon moves closer to establishing beachheads in medicine chests across the US and using that muscle to alter the traditional playbook for prescription drug distribution. Earlier this year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, along with fellow CEOs Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co., announced an unnamed venture to tackle healthcare access and costs for their employees. PillPack holds mail order pharmacy licenses in all 50 states.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, called the acquisition a "warning shot" by Amazon to others in the drug space.

But no area of the market felt the pain worse than pharmacies themselves.

The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2018. In a video explaining the system, PillPack CTO and co-founder Elliot Cohen said PharmacyOS is "more than just a rethinking of a pharmacy system".

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