Amazon acquires PillPack, an online pharmacy that delivers medicine to your door

PillPack prepackages and mails consumers pills.									Pat Greenhouse  The Boston Globe

The retailing behemoth made its first significant move into the pharmacy business by buying PillPack, an online company that ships medications to customers' homes, reports the Wall Street Journal. It offers medications in presorted dose packaging, coordinates refills, and handles shipments. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2018.

Amazon's purchase of an online chemist that opens an immediate nationwide drug network in the USA has shaved billions off the value of three major pharmacy chains. Earlier this year, the technology giant announced its move into us employee health care via a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan, while reports have been surfacing for a while that it was looking to enter the lucrative pharmaceutical realm.

Amazon was vague in terms of what it plans to do with PillPack, other than supporting the startup's team as they "continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier", according to Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO Jeff Wilke.

Shares of CVS and Walgreens declined on the news of Amazon's purchase.

The damage also spread through the pharmacy supply chain, with drug wholesalers seeing deep losses.

Amazon has long expanded beyond its simple ecommerce roots and is now targeting multiple industries. The companies said the deal would have to clear regulatory hurdles before it is complete. The firm's shares have spiked 435% since the beginning of 2015, more than 14 times the return for the benchmark S&P 500 over the same period. Apparently Walmart was also interested in buying PillPack and was outbid by Amazon.

"We know that we have to change the level of our services to the customers and we are working quite hard on that direction, but we are not anxious", Pessina said. Stay tuned for the latest twists and turns as the nation's largest corporations battle for healthcare supremacy. "And I think that that's more likely than not what you're going to see today"'.

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