Amazon's march into healthcare took another big step on Thursday as the tech giant announced its intention to acquire PillPack. In April, CNBC reported Walmart Inc. was in talks to buy the company for "under $1 billion", citing unnamed sources.
Shareholders suffered jitters after Amazon closed a deal with PillPack, which sells prescriptions in every USA state except Hawaii.
Terms were not disclosed.
Importantly for Amazon, PillPack already has mail-order pharmacy licenses in all 50 US states, which could enable Amazon to expand quickly into the broader mail-order pharmacy business. The company then mails the medications to patients and coordinates refills and renewals.
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"PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers" lives, and we want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier. Shares of drug wholesalers McKesson Corp (MCK.N), Cardinal Health (CAH.N) and AmerisourceBergen (ABC.N) also fell sharply.
An aging population means we'll see an increase in health concerns and chronic conditions like heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer that can be costly to manage.
"In our view, this is only the first play in what will be an increasingly aggressive strategy by Amazon to develop a much more significant presence in the pharmacy market", he said.
Here's how PillPack works: Users receive a monthly roll of pre-sorted medications with labels that include photos and instructions. Just hours before Amazon announced it's buying PillPack, Walgreens beat analyst estimates on third-quarter revenue and earnings.
The startup has raised north of $120 million in funding from big-name backers that include TechStars, Menlo Ventures, and Accel.