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Amazon Pharmacy Testing in Progress

COVID-19 Testing, the Halo health band and service, cloud services for healthcare and life sciences, and even primary care for Amazon employees are all part of the company’s healthcare strategy. The sheer magnitude of the healthcare business and the vast challenges that need to be tackled are big motivators.

However, one of Amazon healthcare projects, medicines by mail, appears to be particularly well-positioned to benefit from the company’s typical e-commerce competence. The Amazon Pharmacy was established in November 2020, following the company’s acquisition of PillPack in 2018. TJ Parker, the PillPack CEO and vice president in charge of Amazon Pharmacy said, “Really, we wanted to make a pharmacy experience that was just as easy to use as Amazon generally.”

Amazon is up against traditional pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, and RiteAid, including other giant retail competitors like Walmart and Target. Healthcare technology companies like GoodRx, whose chief financial officer, Karsten Voermann, attempted to downplay the competitive threat from Amazon during a recent earnings call. However, this is Amazon, a corporation with the resources and drive to take on significant problems and possibilities over the long term.

So, how does it feel to shop at Amazon Pharmacy? To find out, I signed up for the service on a regular prescription refill to see what it was like. The simplicity and privacy of Amazon Pharmacy impressed me. However, I ran into various roadblocks, some of which were due to glitches in the healthcare system that was beyond Amazon control, making the whole process less than flawless.

In this edition of GeekWire’s Health Tech Podcast, I speak with Amazon TJ Parker to learn more about Amazon Pharmacy, drawing on my own experience.

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