Online retail giant Amazon is considering moving into the online prescription drug business and the company is expected to decide on the matter by the later part of next month, according to a new report by CNBC. The report cited an email coming from Amazon itself and claimed that the company's plan to sell prescription drugs online is nearing completion, with Amazon possibly hiring drug supply chain professionals if it eventually proceeds with the plan.
According to a source familiar with Amazon's plans, the inspiration for the company's push into the pharmacy market probably comes from its recent effort to tap Mark Lyons, a former executive from Premera Blue Cross, to develop a pharmacy benefits manager for Amazon's employees. Details about the nature of the business Amazon is planning to venture into remains unclear, though, as the Seattle, Washington-based company refuses to give any comment on the report. This is not the first time, though, that Amazon is reported expanding into the medical business. Last July, it was reported that the company operates a secretive project lab called 1492 that is intended to develop medical solutions for keeping patient records and for facilitating over-the-air diagnostics. The lab is located in Amazon's Seattle, Washington-based headquarters and works on a number of projects involving software and hardware systems for medical technologies. Additionally, the sources claimed that the 1492 team has begun working on how to use medical data in order to deliver health care services to patients. Part of the plan within the 1492 team is to create innovative solutions involving Amazon's existing products like the digital assistant Alexa. It is not clear, however, whether the plan includes building new hardware.
Amazon already has a stake in the health care and medical sciences category through its Amazon Web Services division. While Amazon has yet to release a public announcement to shed light on the company's reported push in the online prescription drug market, it would be wise to take the report with a pinch of salt. As the reported announcement window for the plan is drawing near, an update on Amazon's plan could be expected over the next few weeks.