Amazon Vet To Head Pharmacy Unit

Amazon chose a 14-year company veteran to head up its new pharmacy business. Citing an internal company document, CNBC reported that Nader Kabbani is now “vice president of consumables, special projects.” Employees in the unit reporting to Kabbani include the team at PillPack, which Amazon acquired for more than $800 million in June 2018.

From 2007 to 2013, Kabbani helped build Amazon’s self-publishing Kindle platform. Up until May 2017, he was in charge of Amazon Flex, a service that hires individuals to make deliveries on a flexible schedule, as well as additional aspects of the company’s last-mile delivery strategy. Kabbani also served as the point person for the purchase of PillPack. He reports to Sunny Jain, Amazon’s vice president of consumables.

It’s no surprise that Amazon is looking to get into the pharmacy business. In the U.S., more than 4 billion prescriptions are ordered each year, and spending is expected to top $600 billion in the next few years. The acquisition of PillPack is one of Amazon’s biggest moves into the industry.

“No matter how complicated healthcare may be behind the scenes, consumers see pharmacy as just another eCommerce category,” said Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of CareZone, an internet pharmacy startup. “They want modern digital experiences. Traditional providers ought to be rethinking their approach to customer retention.”

While the team at PillPack has been relatively quiet since it was bought by Amazon, some movement has led analysts to assume that the eCommerce giant is ready to launch its own online pharmacy. A report in November 2018 said Amazon may first introduce the service to its own employees.

The report noted that PillPack has filed for several new pharmacy licenses, most of which are to secure clearance to ship drugs from its warehouse in Phoenix to customers. Analysts have also identified additional licenses for operations in Washington, New Mexico and Indiana.


Exclusive PYMNTS Study: 

The Future Of Unattended Retail Report: Vending As The New Contextual Commerce, a PYMNTS and USA Technologies collaboration, details the findings from a survey of 2,325 U.S. consumers about their experiences with shopping via unattended retail channels and their interest in using them going forward.