Source: The Next Web


Amazon – the U.S.-based e-commerce giant – holds an annual meeting each year to discuss whether it should get inside the multi-billion dollar market of pharmacy, according to a source familiar with the matter. The source, which asked to remain anonymous, said that the online retailer is getting even more serious about the business this year and it is looking to hire a general manager as well.

A multibillion market opportunity for Amazon: Industry experts

According to two people who are familiar with the plans of the e-commerce company, the online retailing company has held at least one annual meeting each year for the last several years at its Seattle headquarters to discuss whether or not it should enter the pharmacy business. However, this year the e-commerce company is even more serious about it because of rise of high-deductible plans and the increasing trend of consumers paying for their health care.

The two anonymous sources said that given the complicated and complex web of established companies, it is not a done deal that the e-commerce giant will move into the pharmacy industry. However, the U.S.-based online retailer – which is slowing moving towards other technologies like Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and drones among others – is hiring a new general manager to spearhead the team and formulate a strategy. The sources added that the e-commerce giant is deep in discussions with industry experts. The general manager hired by Amazon Inc. would sit under the consumables business.

According to another source, the online retailing giant has begun to recruit more broadly from the pharmacy industry.

Amazon serious about getting into pharmacy business

In April, the Japan Times reported that the e-commerce giant had expanded its Prime Now delivery service to add cosmetic and drug sales as well, with the support of local businesses. The category page on the Japanese site of the tech giant includes “pharmaceuticals” now and sells drugs to patients with approval from a pharmacist.

The online retailer did not immediately respond to request for comment. Recently, the e-commerce company began selling medical supplies and equipment in the United States. In addition to this, the tech company is also hiring for its “professional health care program” to make sure that it is meeting regulatory requirements.

The e-commerce also hired Mark Lyons from Premera Blue Cross two months ago. Stephen Buck, the co-founder of GoodRx and a health entrepreneur, said “I think Amazon would introduce a lot of transparency to what drugs really cost.” GoodRx is a service that vows to save consumers on the price of prescriptions.