Amazon is considering entering the prescription drug sales market in Japan, according to a Reuters report Monday (Sept. 5).
If it does so, it plans to team up with smaller pharmacies, starting next year when electronic prescriptions are finally allowed in the country.
Prescription drug prices in Japan are determined by the government. The distribution system is fragmented there, with 70 wholesalers nationwide and over 60,000 pharmacies.
Amazon has been making various acquisitions and business expansions lately, including looking more at healthcare. One of the acquisitions, of One Medical, is being looked at by the FTC, PYMNTS wrote.
Amazon agreed to buy the healthcare firm for $3.9 million. One Medical operates clinics in numerous U.S. markets.
One Medical recently said in a securities filing that both it and Amazon had gotten requests for more information about the deal.
Amazon’s bid to buy One Medical is the first big acquisition announced during new Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s tenure. Jassy had previously said that he wanted to focus more on healthcare.
The FTC investigation could cause delays, as federal competition investigations can be lengthy and take months to finish. The biggest take around 11 months on average.
One Medical is a membership-based primary care practice which offers on-site offices in big U.S. metro areas. It also comes with telehealth offerings.
Amazon has been looking into healthcare at a time when numerous companies are looking to add health care operations.
Amazon’s buy of One Medical was also the catalyst for the eCommerce giant to shut down its Amazon Care service, which it had rolled out in 2019 as an employee-based telehealth service, which also sent healthcare providers to peoples’ homes.
As the service was shut down, Senior Vice President Neil Lindsay said the decision hadn’t been easy, and that it had taken months to reach the conclusion to do it.