The Amazon juggernaut finally comes into view
Community pharmacy may believe there is no competition for monitored dosage systems (MDS) currently supplied at a loss. But a glance in the rear-view mirror reveals a juggernaut coming into view: Amazon has just acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy that operates in 49 US states and focuses on supply to customers on multiple medications.
Shares in Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS Health and McKesson fell 7–10% in response, a signal of how seriously investors take the threat of Amazon to conventional pharmacy distribution and wholesaling providers. If the acquisition is approved, Amazon, whose Prime subscription service has 100 million subscribers, could, in time, have the capability to supply medicines to the homes of customers well beyond the United States. High MDS volumes could be supplied by Amazon with far greater efficiency and consequently at lower cost than now — an attractive proposition for national and local NHS payers. In 2015–2016, 24% of adults living in their own homes in England were taking three or more medicines — a huge potential market for MDS.
Eileen Neilson, director, Willow Consulting (London) Ltd.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205137