Sunday, 23 September, 2018


Amazon buys PillPack, an online pharmacy, for just under $1B

The Walgreens logo is seen outside the store in Times Square in New York Amazon buys PillPack, an online pharmacy, for just under $1B
Patty Aguilar | 03 July, 2018, 02:21

The company said on Thursday morning it was buying online pharmacy PillPack in a deal that will instantly give Amazon a platform through which to sell pharmaceuticals. Instead of packaging user medications by the prescription (with a month's worth of one drug in one bottle and another drug in another bottle, for example), PillPack packages medications by the dose. PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers' lives, and we want to help [PillPack] continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier.

Why it matters: The acquisition represents Amazon's biggest move yet into the healthcare sector and threatens the traditional retail pharmacy model in a major way.

PillPack had attracted interest from Walmart Inc, which was looking to buy it for less than $1 billion, CNBC reported in April.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc's chief executive officer said on Thursday he was not anxious about Amazon.Com Inc's push into the US healthcare sector, but investors were rattled by the threat the online giant could pose to the sector. McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen shares were all down after the news.

Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said that it was Pillpack's experience of the pharmacy industry, combined with a focus on technology, that drew the tech giant to the company.

But all the companies said on Thursday was the deal was subject to some regulatory approvals and that the companies hope to close the transaction during the second half of this year. Hill sees supply-chain stocks potentially trading below 10 times their price-to-earnings multiples as competition heats up. The healthcare joint venture and the PillPack deal may signal that Amazon is continuing to make a thrust into the $3 trillion United States healthcare market.

The company picked up independent pharmacy PillPack for an undisclosed amount on Thursday, allowing it access to PillPack's pharmacy distribution system created to make getting prescriptions simpler for patients.

US stocks are closing higher Thursday as gains for technology companies and banks help the market recover some of the previous day's losses. Amazon's latest acquisition hints at the kind of role it may be looking to play in the healthcare industry in the future.

But no area of the market felt the pain worse than pharmacies themselves.

PillPack was a 2014 finalist for Co.Design's Innovation By Design Awards.

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