Amazon wants to deliver your medicine.
Online marketplace Amazon disrupted the entire pharmacy industry—for a day at least—with its $1 billion purchase of PillPack, an online pharmacy that uses robots to sort and package pills in daily doses for home delivery. The news saw the shares of CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid lose a combined $12 billion in market value.
PillPack holds pharmacy licenses in every state except Hawaii, enabling Amazon to ship medications nationwide for next-day delivery, and same-day in some cities. This, combined with Amazon’s extensive customer base, will make it easy for the company to quickly scale its pharmaceutical business.
The acquisition of PillPack will move Amazon deeper into the health care market. The company was already working with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase on a joint venture to improve (and lower the cost) of care for their employees. Amazon also will gain valuable data on customer behavior, as it did last year with its purchase of Whole Foods Market.
Meanwhile, the e-commerce giant also announced a new program to boost its “last mile” delivery network. Entrepreneurs can now apply to start their own small businesses delivering Amazon Prime packages. They will use Amazon-branded vans and uniforms.