Amazon acquires pharmacy startup PillPack; purchase price thought to be near $1b

Henrietta Brewer
June 28, 2018

The internet giant said on Thursday it would buy online pharmacy PillPack, a small but significant step into the US healthcare sector.

Amazon's purchase of an online chemist that opens an immediate nationwide drug network in the USA has shaved billions off the value of three major pharmacy chains. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2018.

"PillPack's visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology", says Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer. "PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers' lives, and we want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier".

Founded out of Boston in 2013, PillPack invites customers to sign up online, and the company then dispatches "over-the-counter" and prescription medications in individual packs organized by date and time.

PillPack earned an "excellent" rating in PCMag's 2014 review. Just hours before Amazon announced it's buying PillPack, Walgreens beat analyst estimates on third-quarter revenue and earnings.

MarketWatchPillPack is geared towards patients who take multiple daily prescriptions. "Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner's mind, and a long-term orientation". The big pharmacy chains have been bracing for Amazon's arrival, and this deal could "shake up the drugstore industry", per CNBC.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc's (WBA.O) chief executive officer said on Thursday he was not anxious about Amazon.Com Inc's (AMZN.O) push into the USA healthcare sector, but investors were rattled by the threat the online giant could pose to the sector. The firm also helps to co-ordinate refills and renewals. PillPack already raised over $120 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.

The announcement comes one week after Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway revealed the CEO of their new healthcare tech company.

At the time, Parker argued that the company was working to protect its monopoly on home-delivered prescriptions, which Express Scripts disputed.

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