Amazon has a new side hustle. The company confirmed on Thursday that it’s buying its way into the pharmacy industry by snapping up PillPack, a service that sells prescription drugs online.
Simple over-the-counter drugs are already available on Amazon.com, but this will mark Amazon’s first big foray into the pharmaceutical industry. PillPack describes itself as a “full service” pharmacy. Its deliveries are sealed into individual daily packs, sent out in a roll each month.
“PillPack’s visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology,” Jeff Wilke, the boss of Amazon’s consumer-facing business, said in a statement. “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. We’re excited to see what we can do together on behalf of customers over time.”
What, exactly, the two companies plan to do together isn’t public. We’ve reached out to Amazon to find out if PillPack will continue on as a somewhat independent company, if the service will appear on Amazon.com someday, or if it’ll get turned into something dystopian-sounding like “Prime Prescriptions.” Amazon reportedly paid “just under” $1 billion for the service.
Many have hypothesized how Amazon-as-a-Pharmacy might impact the industry, since rumors of an acquisition first emerged last year. Amazon may target customers who already pay out of pocket for drugs, including both the uninsured or those with high deductibles.
Amazon began obtaining pharmacy licenses last October, acquiring them in 12 states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Nevada. In a press release, Amazon said the PillPack deal is expected to be done “during the second half of 2018.”