E-retail Giant Amazon Moving Forward with Plans to Sell Medicines Online
E-retail giant Amazon is soon going to make a big decision about whether it will get into the pharmacy business, a move in which it will be selling online prescription drugs to people having a doctor’s prescription. If Amazon gets into this business, it will be a direct competition to major pharmacy chains such as CVS as well as Walgreens.
According to an email from Amazon, which CNBC viewed, the e-retail giant is working out the details of its strategy to enter the multibillion-dollar prescription drug industry — a $560-billion-per-year market to be specific.
And for this, Amazon will be requiring a dedicated team, which sources said that it has already started to create. The company has been looking for employees to be part of a project called as “healthcare,”. Among its first hires was Mark Lyons, who is an executive from the nonprofit health insurance company Premera Blue Cross. As per reports, Lyons has created an internal pharmacy benefit manager for employees of Amazon, the success of which will be able to determine how they plan to proceed with this pharmacy business. The Vice President for Amazon Consumables, Eric French, has also consulted with many people about this possible move.
Although online prescription drugs sales are not anything new, they have not caught on in a big way. Most people are not very interested in waiting long for a prescription to ship.In the case of monthly prescriptions, a local pharmacy usually prepares it ahead of time so that it can be picked up on the renewal day.
Still, it may be easy to convert the masses if there is an online option that guarantees fast shipping as well as lower prices. Amazon is no stranger to branching out with different markets. Also it has seen a lot of success in the past doing so. Ebooks are one example paying off well for the company. Also it has seen great results with things like original television shows as well as Prime Pantry.
It will not be a surprise if the E-retail giant decided to take on big pharmacy chains. However, sources say that the company is exercising caution.
This decision will undoubtedly follow abundant research on its part. However, there are many major complexities involved and according to sources, Amazon is carefully weighing them. Whether a Prime subscription will be needed is not stated.