Industry experts are eyeing Amazon’s exploration of possible entry into the online pharmacy market.
MSN reported that Amazon is hiring a business lead to determine how the company can break into the pharmacy market.
Amazon is skilled and experienced in disrupting traditional approaches, according to Ron Geraty, MD, CEO of AxisPoint Health. “Amazon will be careful to decide how to enter the market—whether selling drugs directly through consumers by cutting out the traditional distributors or ‘middle men’ who demand rebates and price adjustments based on ‘control’ or by selling through other methods, we can be confident that tradition will be broken,” says Geraty.
“[Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos of Amazon has proven he thinks different,” Geraty continues. “He is patient, disciplined, has demonstrated he can break up current practices. The entire pharmaceutical/PBM/pharmacy system of collusion on pharmacy pricing needs to be disrupted. The implications for all of medicine is significant. Healthcare, in general, does not follow market forces. Is Amazon indicating it will take this bigger issue on by entering the pharmaceutical industry?”
Amazon’s foray into the online market can mean two things, according to Joseph Sanginiti, president and CEO of FamilyWize, an organization that advocates and negotiates for deep discounts on prescription drugs.
“First of all, it could mean more transparency when it comes to prescription medications,” says Sanginiti. “Secondly it will challenge the PBM industry on the issue of transparency and its mail prescription services.”
For Amazon, Sanginiti believes this is really about the mail delivery service option for prescriptions. “This will most likely change the game and start a new trend, just like Amazon did when they entered the retail market,” he says. “Prescriptions will not necessarily be sold at a cheaper or wholesale cost. It’s more about the convenience, affordability, and the infrastructure of offering consumers the possibility of having their prescriptions delivered. It’s still a very early stage, so a lot remains to be seen.”
If Amazon enters the market they will enhance the trend of transparency and mail delivery service tremendously, according to Sanginiti.