Amazon may be looking to expand its online delivery service to the pharmacy market, what that means for pharmacy is up to debate.
A recently published article by Christina Farr (@chrissyfarr) at CNBC covers the background chatter of a potentially new player in the pharmacy space, namely Amazon.
Basing the report on information from Amazon's recent business meeting in Seattle, she describes how several insiders have been discussing that Amazon seeks to get into the pharmacy business and capitalize on the health care business front.
While Jeff Bezos had been involved in DrugStore.com in the 90s, this will harken a return to the online drug market for him. Currently, they are hiring some more staff for their health care arm, most likely trying to figure out how to navigate the regulatory arm of this venture. Interestingly, according to a report from Japan Times, Amazon has been doing something similar, where local pharmacists would approve medications for delivery to patients. Though again, laws and regulations surrounding pharmaceutical and dispensing rules are vastly different between the US and Japan so this is not an automatic definite proof of market services.
So what can we look forward to?
Just imagine it. Drone delivered medications. Same day delivery. Points on your Amazon Prime Account. And of course, recommended products for your health and needs because they will figure out your past medical history from all this and make money off of your health. Got diabetes? Here's some great foods/snacks that are healthy for you!
In all seriousness, if this does eventually go through it poses some competition to other large scale players in the pharmacy space, which may be of some benefit for costs to patients. Some believe it could help with cost transparency, and others think it could pose some competition to the big PBMs. The other fact that we see an increase in online pharmacy delivery companies demonstrates that there is a growing market and funding for such business practices.
Nonetheless, where does that leave the pharmacists? I won't lie, I keep seeing ads pop up for jobs at local Amazon warehouses. Will we start seeing positions for pharmacists in the future like that? Would they be work-from-home remote jobs,? How about patient counseling, would that be a place where Amazon uses telemedicine services?
Navigating the whole e-prescribing sphere, and federal/state pharmacy laws seem daunting on this level to be quite honest, but if Amazon sees a potential multibillion market here and the technology is in their favor, we may see some rapid changes to employment shortly.
1. Farr C. Amazon is hiring people to break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market. market. CNBC. zhttp://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/16/amazon-selling-drugs-pharamaceuticals.html. Accessed May 17, 2017.