Amazon is hiring a business lead to
For the last few years, Amazon has held at least one annual meeting at its Seattle headquarters to discuss whether it should enter the pharmacy business, says two people familiar with the company's plans.
But this year, with the rise of high-deductible plans and the trend toward consumers paying for health care, it is ready to get more serious.
Two people said that it's not a done deal that Amazon will move into this space, given the complex web of established players. But it is bringing on a new general manager to lead the team and formulate a
Another person said Amazon has started to recruit more broadly from the pharmacy space.
The company recently started selling medical supplies and equipment in the U.S.
Amazon declined to comment.
Japan Times reported in April that the company expanded its Prime Now delivery service to include drug and cosmetic sales, with the support of local partners. Amazon's category page on its Japanese site now includes "pharmaceuticals," and sells drugs to patients with approval from a pharmacist.
Amazon often tests new product lines in non-U.S. markets, before it assesses whether to roll it out in the domestic market. The company tested its secret drone-delivery program in Canada, for instance.
In the United States alone, more than 4 billion prescriptions are ordered every year. In 2015, patients, insurance
For Amazon, it's a lucrative market that would require navigating a variety of existing players. For consumers with a high dollar deductible, Amazon could someday be a go-to destination to shop for drugs.
"I think Amazon would introduce a lot of transparency to what drugs really cost," said Stephen Buck, a health entrepreneur and co-founder of GoodRx, a service that promises to save consumers on the price of prescriptions. Buck sees a slew of potential opportunities for Amazon, including a product that competes with pharmacy benefits management giants like Express Scripts and CVS Health.
Buck estimates that it's a $25 billion to $50 billion market opportunity for
Amazon previously backed a "