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Amazon could start selling cheap drugs ‘right away,’ experts think

Updated 4 years ago
Published Jul 3rd, 2018 9:01PM EDT
Amazon PillPack
Image: David Zalubowski/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Hot on the heels of #disrupting the grocery world by purchasing Whole Foods, Amazon is dipping its toes into the US healthcare market with a billion-dollar acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack. The deal is set to close in the second half of this year, and according to some experts, Amazon-backed changes could come to the online pharmacy literally overnight.”Amazon could rename PillPack as ‘Amazon Pharmacy,’ and start right away,” Talha Sattar, CEO of internet pharmacy start-up Nimble, told CNBC. “The bigger question is about the form that the offering will take.”

According to the experts CNBC talked with, the easiest thing for Amazon to do straight away would be to offer a handful of drugs, accepting cash-only patients rather than those with insurance. Doing so would be simple from a regulatory perspective, and mean that Amazon doesn’t have to deal with the industry’s middlemen.It would also be right out of Amazon’s playbook. Immediately following the Whole Foods deal, Amazon made a handful of staple foods much cheaper. If it can offer generic versions of a handful of popular medications for below-market prices — something like Walmart’s $4 prescription plan — then it could persuade more and more people to sign up for Amazon Prime.