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Amazon is hiring people to break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market

Mar 7, 2013
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- Each year, Amazon holds an annual meeting to discuss whether it should break into the pharmacy market, said a source familiar.
- This year, it is getting more serious and is looking to hire a general manager.

- Industry experts say this could be a multibillion market opportunity for the e-commerce company.

Amazon is hiring a business lead to figure out how the company can break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market.
For the last few years, Amazon has held at least one annual meeting at its Seattle, WA 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 towards 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 strategy, and is deep in discussions with industry experts. That hire would sit under the consumables business, the source said.
In the United States alone, more than 4 billion prescriptions are ordered every year. In 2015, patients, insurance companies and other payers spent an estimated $300 billion on prescription drugs.
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 prescription meds. Buck sees a slew of potential opportunities for Amazon, including a product that competes with pharmacy benefits management or PBM giants, like Express Scripts and CVS Health.
Buck estimates that it's a $25 to $50 billion market opportunity for Amazon, if executed well. But the company would also face challenges entering a regulated market it. "Prescription transfer laws and e-prescribing make a little bit more difficult than putting something in a cart and checking out," he said.
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/16/amazon-selling-drugs-pharamaceuticals.html


If Amazon did AmazonBasics generic drugs, it'd split the entire industry open. absolutely insane revenue.
 

Somnid

Member
Aug 9, 2006
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I'm a big proponent of corporate diversity but drugs is up there with telcos in terms of industries who can die in a fire and I'll take my chances doing business with the raging inferno.
 

thekonamicode

Member
Jan 29, 2012
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It's 2017 and soon a drone might fly pills to my house for a fraction of what Walgreens charges my ass to drive there and pick them up.
 

Somnid

Member
Aug 9, 2006
19,685
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1,215
wouldn't it be mad if the corporations are the ones that save us?

Tech companies are scary powerful, I'm just glad that for the time being they're mostly benevolent and inclined to enrich our lives with trivial convenience bullshit. But when capitalism falls apart because the 4 or 5 superpowers own everything, it's going to be bad.
 

dc3k

Member
Jan 3, 2015
1,035
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a shithole country
It still blows my mind how much I have to pay to get a basic prescription filled here. The most I had ever paid before was a $5 filling fee.
 

NeOak

Member
Sep 14, 2006
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Like, if Amazon manufactures the old generics and sells them cheap, people would buy a shitload more there.

Add a % discount to meds with a Prime discount and wowowowoowowow
 

Arc

Member
Jul 16, 2012
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As much as I hate how big the tech giants are getting.... Please blow the market up Amazon. Kill it with fire and prime discount generics.
 

Pinko Marx

Banned
May 11, 2009
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Life is getting more and more like a cyberpunk story by the day with megacorporations that have their hand in damn near every pie.
 

Hydrus

Member
Jun 24, 2014
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I'm OK with Amazon taking over the world. Do it amazon, start fucking up the big pharmas.
 
Oct 11, 2013
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fuck it
hey amazon why don't you go ahead and sell me health insurance with a prime discount

also maybe do a little light lobbying to get medical marijuana nationwide and, oh, is that my back acting up? funny thing that
 

Lubricus

Member
Mar 21, 2014
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Georgia
Drugs could cost as much as 10 times more at one retailer vs. another. We're not talking about regional differences; we found big variations at retailers in the same area. For example, where Debbie Diljak lives in Raleigh, N.C., the cost for a month's worth of the generic Cymbalta she takes ranged from $249 at a Walgreens to $43 at Costco. (At Walgreens, the pharmacist did suggest using the store's discount program to lower the price to $220, but it comes with a $20 annual fee.) See more examples in the map below.

Similar patterns emerged across the U.S. In Dallas, a shopper was quoted a price of $150 for generic Plavix at a centrally located CVS. But Preston Village Pharmacy, an independent just a 20-minute drive away, said it would sell the drug for just $23. In Denver, the grocery store Albertson's Save-On said its price for generic Actos was $330, but nearby Cherry Creek Pharmacy said it would sell it for just $15.

http://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/6-tips-for-finding-the-best-prescription-drug-prices/



Also, you do not have to have a Costco membership to use their pharmacy. Just walk in.
 
May 18, 2010
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As someone who regularly calls in meds to various pharmacy and doing price checks, I really hope this happens. It's such a pain in the ass to try to prescribe medication only for it to be extremely expensive and for most clients, unaffordable. Amazon needs to throw their hat into the ring and hopefully drive prices down across the board.
 

MGrant

Member
May 6, 2006
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I await the number of lawmakers who are all about the free market turning around to fight this with regulations requested by their corporate donors.
 

itwasTuesday

He wasn't alone.
Feb 12, 2010
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Amazon Basics already killed monoprice for me. Let them do drugs. Alaska be like amazon.weed.com. same day.
 

The Albatross

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Apr 15, 2010
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Sounds good. It's an industry that needs more competition nation wide. Despite being a many-billion dollar industry the supply chain to consumers is still remarkably local, expensive, and fraught with waste.

I'm just here to watch people talk like they know how pharmacies work.

Enlighten us, but first consider if your (presumed?) Defense of pharmacies/meds as they exist today wouldn't have been similarly used for any other industry that Amazon disrupted.
 

Lubricus

Member
Mar 21, 2014
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The only one that's paying for these high costs are insurance companies. If you are covered, generally all of these drugs are about the same.

I pay Costco prices since my copay with Blue Cross-Blue Shield was higher on antibiotics than the cash price.
If you have a standard insurance co-pay, it might not occur to you to shop around. But sometimes the price you’d pay out of pocket (what those without insurance are charged) might be less than your co-pay —a fact pharmacists may neglect to mention. Case in point: Metformin—used to treat type 2 diabetes—sells for just $4 for a month’s supply, or $10 for a three-month supply, at stores such as Target and Walmart, while a co-pay for a month’s worth averages about $11.
 

Wheatly

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Aug 2, 2015
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In all likelihood, they would probably just be a big mail order pharmacy. Comments suggesting that they may break into the PBM or generic drug manufacturing business - it aint happening
 

The Albatross

Member
Apr 15, 2010
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In all likelihood, they would probably just be a big mail order pharmacy. Comments suggesting that they may break into the PBM or generic drug manufacturing business - it aint happening

Yeah I doubt Amazon would take the government oversight involved with that. They'd likely be like a nationwide CVS delivery service or eRx service. But what separates Amazon from the rest is how they aggressively cut waste to undercut competitors and drive prices down. Rx medicine is an industry that desperately needs that, someone to race to the bottom.
 

bucknuticus

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Nov 16, 2008
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Yeah I doubt Amazon would take the government oversight involved with that. They'd likely be like a nationwide CVS delivery service or eRx service. But what separates Amazon from the rest is how they aggressively cut waste to undercut competitors and drive prices down. Rx medicine is an industry that desperately needs that, someone to race to the bottom.

As someone who works for a large pharmaceutical supply chain, we are at a race for the bottom currently, shits cut throat out here. Luckily contracts exist or you would see prices even higher, we run an incredibly lean network right now
 

AlteredBeast

Fork 'em, Sparky!
May 30, 2005
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So glad my company provides free healthcare and free prescriptions for its employees.

My newborn has horrible reflux and had to get a prescription filled at a grocery store so we wouldn't have to wait until tomorrow when my office opened.

The pharmacist says, "ok, that will be $62."

I was like, what?! With insurance?

"Oh, well, with insurance, it is $4.57.


Like wtf.

1) A 750% markup for no insurance?
2) Not even asking if I had insurance? Come on...