August 20, 2018

Amazon acquires pharmacy startup PillPack; purchase price thought to be near $1b

28 June 2018, 08:40 | Silvia Roy

PillPack prepackages and mails consumers pills. Pat Greenhouse The Boston Globe

PillPack prepackages and mails consumers pills.									Pat Greenhouse  The Boston Globe

"PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers' lives, and we want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier". "Anyone who takes several prescription pills a day should look into it".

Terms were not disclosed on the deal for PillPack, an online pharmacy which operates in all 50 USA states and offers pre-sorted dose packaging and home delivery.

The move comes amid speculation that Amazon was planning to get into the pharmacy or drug-distribution business.

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Of course, Amazon is in the midst of developing a joint healthcare venture in partnership with the CEOs of Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase.

Amazon's purchase of an online chemist that opens an immediate nationwide drug network in the United States has shaved billions off the value of three major pharmacy chains.

Walgreens Boots Alliance's third-quarter profit beat analysts' expectations on Thursday, benefiting from its acquisition of Rite Aid stores, and the drugstore chain authorized a $10 billion share buyback program.

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"PillPack's visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology", Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke said in a statement. Walgreens stock was down 9.46% in pre-market trading. Shares of drug wholesalers Mckesson Corp, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen were also down.

He added this "is only the first play" in an increasingly aggressive strategy by Amazon for a much more significant role in pharmacy.

An aging population means we'll see an increase in health concerns and chronic conditions like heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer that can be costly to manage.

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"At this juncture we are not anxious about Amazon's entrance into the prescription market", Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Steven Halper said in a note. Once the deal closes, Amazon could potentially start selling prescription drugs directly through its site, delivering them via mail and impacting retail pharmacies.

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