February 13, 2019 Mei Linh Lao
Amazon buys “PillPack,” Expanding Marketplace into Pharmaceuticals
As of late June 2018, Amazon purchased a small startup, “PillPack” allowing the extensive online marketplace to expand into the pharmaceutical business and thus breaking tradition for physical walk-ins to purchase medicines. In an age of technology, the idea of an online pharmacy is incredibly enticing and may be especially beneficial for millennials and future generations.
Exploring PillPack’s website, we find a surely easy process for purchasing medicine. Following traditional pharmacy design, the site requests for basic set up information and assists in finding both prescription medicine and vitamins for purchase. After your order, a PillPack representative follows up with a call to ensure accurate purchase, information details, and the expected arrival time. Yet the company’s specialty lies in convenience for long term usage- beneficial for those with chronic conditions. It advertises features such as automatic refills, monthly shipping, and complementary pharmacy items. The packages arrive in pre-rationed packets, each stamped with a date and to be taken for daily consumption. PillPack sends these in a dispenser to be easily accessed and taken everyday.
In the meantime, many investors believe that this means a potential advantage only for those accustomed to technology. Independent analysis J.D. Power argues that current consumers “love their brick and mortar pharmacies” due to “reliability and superior services,” believing that Amazon will need to improvise and invest a lot more time into the company. Despite expert analysis, other pharmacies are preparing defenses against Amazon: “CVS is in the process of acquiring a health insurer that would combine its retail pharmacies, walk-in clinics and pharmacy benefits manager; Rite Aid is trying to merge with grocery chain Albertsons; Walgreens is partnering with health-care businesses, including health insurers and lab testing providers to add more health services to its stores.”
PillPack’s early emergence into the online industry may not take off immediately, but is likely to become a prevailing industry for our generation in the later future.