Is the launch of Amazon Pharmacy coming?

By Dan Wilson May 16, 2018 - 7:40 pm

More clues and speculation that an Amazon pharmacy service is coming have been revealed from various sources and it looks like previous rumours are correct that some sort of foray into pills and potions business is still under consideration. But is it coming soon and what will it look like?

The first new development, that seems entirely plausible, is that an Amazon pharmacy service won’t be one that’s consumer facing but rather aimed at healthcare operations and hospitals through the Amazon Business platform that services public bodies, charities as well as private organisations.

And the good news is that a survey demonstrates that such an offering would be welcomed by hospitals. A Reaction Data survey found 62% of decision makers at hospitals said they support Amazon’s entrance into the market. And the vast majority responded that the entry of Amazon would be positive with only 10% saying that it would be a negative development.

And it is also reported that Amazon has been researching the possibility further having previously pulled back because the regulatory and logistical concerns were too complex. And Amazon is in listening mode with Amazon Business, reportedly exploring possible involvement in the medical supply chain with Amazon Business executives apparently visiting hospitals around the USA gathering feedback and insights.

Phamaceuticals is an industry that is ripe for the disruption that Amazon inevitably brings with it. There are big players that dominate and that can help them to keep prices high. Especially in the United States, which doesn’t have universal socialised medical service, that can sometimes mean eye-watering prices for medication that can be obtained elsewhere for less.

But it can be certain that there will be resistance from the current vested interests to an Amazon pharmacy initiative and there are still regulatory barriers to overcome. But Amazon is generally fearless and determined when it pursues an opportunity but this might be one Amazon project that might take some time to realise.

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