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Amazon Aims at Healthcare

Jessica Mehta • Mon, July 3rd, 2017

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Is Amazon, the giant online retailer, dropping hints about moving into the healthcare industry?

In May 2017, CNBC reported that Amazon was on the hunt for a general manager to “break into the multi-billion dollar pharmacy market.”

The $380 billion retail drug business is presently dominated by such brick and mortar companies as CVS and Walgreens and mega-retailers Target or Wal-Mart or your neighborhood grocery store.

At $473 billion (market cap) Amazon has the potential to be the new big player in healthcare.

Taking the First Steps

In June 2017, Amazon started a new promotion.

For those with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits or a United States Electronic Benefits Transfer Card, a Prime discount is now available. Some analysts see this as a move to lure customers away from discount big box stores like Wal-Mart, which is a beast in the retail pharmacy field.

Orbita, a development company supported by Amazon, is designing features to help with home healthcare management. Showcased at the Connected Health Conference in 2016, Orbita offers voice-activated caregiver integration, medication help, and pain management tools.

Amazon-esque Healthcare?

If you’re wondering why Amazon seems to be targeting the massive healthcare market, it’s worth noting that a 2016 AFLAC study found that the majority of people specified they wanted an “Amazon-esque experience” when they were shopping for healthcare. Since a lot of consumers feel they can trust digital companies to aid in healthcare according to Strategy&, Amazon’s move makes sense.

Finally, should Amazon continue its moves into healthcare, it would no doubt lead with its core strength—data. Amazon certainly has the data to offer customized healthcare based on purchases. That’s something no other company can come close to challenging.

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