Amazon sells everything from televisions shows to toilet paper, but there’s one thing you can’t get from the mega online retailer: prescription medication.
That might soon change, according to recent reports.
The ecommerce giant has toyed with the idea of selling prescriptions for years, a source told CNBC, but expensive health insurance plans — and their high deductibles — make it more of a focus than ever. The recent hire of top healthcare technology executive Missy Krasner points to healthcare being more of a focus for Amazon. The company also brought on Mark Lyons from Premera Blue Cross, tasking him with building an “internal pharmacy” for Amazon employees that might later be scaled, a source told CNBC.
How would Amazon prescriptions work?
No one really knows exactly how Amazon is going to enter the market — and they’re not talking yet. However, the company is already allowing expanded pharmaceutical and health product sales on its Japanese website, according to the Japan Times.
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“I would expect a marketplace of sorts for consumers to choose a doctor or service, and schedule it,” Tom Rodgers, managing director of McKesson Ventures, told CNBC of what he thinks will happen.
“I wouldn't be surprised to see them partner with a pharmacy home delivery company first,” Rodgers said. “Only after they prove they can deliver demand, then (Amazon could) make their own investments.”
The company is aggressively expanding its reach into American retail with the recent acquisition of Whole Foods and a possible meal kit delivery service to rival BlueApron. It might not make Amazon’s competition happy, but at least one expert thinks an Amazon pharmacy service would save customers a bunch of money on healthcare.
"I think Amazon would introduce a lot of transparency to what drugs really cost," said Stephen Buck, a health entrepreneur and co-founder of GoodRx, told CNBC.