According to the news report, the eCommerce giant has been having talks with middle market pharmacy benefit managers in what Leerink Partners said is an “effort to get into various contract arrangements.”
The report noted that Amazon could go after a mail order pharmacy business that targets people who are uninsured or have high deductibles and pay cash for prescription drugs. The pharmacy executives that told Leerink Partners about Amazon’s move said it would take 18 to 24 months or even longer to get drug licenses in all 50 states.
This isn’t the first time there has been talk of Amazon getting into the prescription market. Back in March, CNBC reported Amazon is in the process of hiring a new general manager – who would be placed under the consumables business – to lead the effort and come up with a strategy.
While Amazon has mulled an entrance into the market at least once a year during a meeting, two people familiar with the matter told CNBC that talks are more serious this time around – driven by a movement among consumers toward high-deductible insurance plans and the fact that consumers have to take on more of the costs associated with health care.
CNBC reported that the online retailer is also beginning to recruit from the pharmacy industry, since it recently began selling medical supplies and equipment in the U.S. To ensure that Amazon meets regulatory requirements, it is hiring employees for the company’s professional health care program, and recently brought on Mark Lyons of Premera Blue Cross to develop a pharmacy benefits manager for Amazon workers. In Japan, Amazon has expanded its Prime Now service to include medicine and cosmetics, reported CNBC.