Nearly a year after Amazon announced that it acquired virtual pharmacy PillPack for close to $1 billion, the retail giant is now starting to market the service to its Amazon Prime members.
Evidence of this emerged yesterday when Twitter users started posting the adverts introducing the new service to members. Notably, Jay Hancock, a Kaiser Health News correspondent, posted a screenshot of his email from Amazon, which boasts free shipping for the service.
The email reportedly links to a PillPack landing page advertising monthly home delivery services, prescription refill management and free service — with the only cost being copays.
PillPack gained recognition for its model of delivering medications in pre-sorted dose packaging and coordinating refills and renewals. The service originally targeted people who take multiple daily prescriptions.
WHY IT MATTERS
All eyes have been on the major tech giants as they begin to make moves in the healthcare industry.
Perhaps its no surprise that Amazon, famed for its quick and easy product delivery services, is dipping its toes into the mail-order pharmacy space.
But the tech company turned heads in January of 2018 when it announced a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to build out a nonprofit healthcare company that, for the time being, will focus on the companies’ employees. While details of exactly what the partnership will mean are still scare, we do know that Atul Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s, will be heading up the venture, set to be based in Boston, and that it will be named Haven.
In other Amazon news, the company announced this month that its voice-based Alexa platform now supports the development of software that communicates HIPAA-protected health information through an invite-only Alexa Skills Kit program.
TJI research, which first spotted the twitter posts, also noted that Amazon is selling health and life insurance in India. Inevitably there will be more health announcements in the future for Amazon, but only time will tell the direction.
WHAT'S THE TREND
While Pillpack gained recognition when it became part of Amazon, it is far from the only online pharmacy.
Its competition includes, Capsule, a New York City-based startup, that carved out its spot in the field with its hand delivery system.
Once a doctor prescribes the medication, the patient will get a text from Capsule enabling them to schedule delivery. Capsule promises to deliver the medication to anyone in New York City within two hours of the interaction. The platform also lets patients transfer their refills from their old pharmacies to Capsule. Recently, the company landed a whopping $50 million in Series B funding.
Also coming into the space is NowRx, an online pharmacy specializing in same-day, same-hour prescription deliveries. In October, the company announced a $7 million Series A raise.