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Amazon To Partner With Japanese Pharmacies In Pharma Deal

 |  September 5, 2022

Amazon is considering entering the prescription drug sales market in Japan, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday.

Amazon plans to partner with small- and mid-sized pharmacies for the service, starting next year when electronic prescriptions are allowed for the first time in Japan, Nikkei said, citing people involved in the project.

Under this plan, Japanese customers will be able to order prescriptions online after online doctor visits for the first time next year. Major pharmacies and other Japanese companies are also working on similar programs that would give patients digital access to information on their medications.

Read More: Antitrust Chronicle™ – Healthcare

Prescription drug prices in Japan are set by the government, while the distribution system is highly fragmented, with 70 wholesalers nationwide and almost 60,000 pharmacies.

Amazon first moved into the pharmacy business in 2018 with its acquisition of PillPack, a medicine delivery service. It launched its own pharmacy, Amazon Pharmacy, in 2020, reaping important profits from the increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amazon’s move into healthcare has not gone unchallenged. Amazon announced plans in late July to buy One Medical, a concierge-type medical service with roughly 190 medical offices in 25 markets. Last week, the e-commerce giant said it would shutter its own hybrid virtual in-home care service called Amazon Care, a One Medical competitor, because it wasn’t meeting customers’ needs. 

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