Amazon acquires PillPack online pharmacy, upending drug delivery business

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

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

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. The service is available in 49 states, with its main pharmacy located in Manchester, New Hampshire. The company serves patients who take multiple medications, sorting those medications into individual packets, so patients don't have sort the drugs themselves.

A PillPack spokesperson said the deal won't have any impact on the Somerville workforce.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

Walgreens' shares dove Thursday morning following news that Amazon is shouldering its way into the pharmacy business, a development that capped off an eventful few weeks for the Deerfield-based chain.

PillPack was founded in 2013 by then-pharmacy student T.J. Parker and Elliot Cohen through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Hacking Medicine initiative.

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Amazon on Thursday announced it had signed an agreement to acquire PillPack, an online pharmacy.

TJ Parker, co-founder and CEO of PillPack, said the company which specialises in handling dose packaging and coordinates refills and renewals, will benefit from a tie-up with Amazon.

The deal could give Amazon another major foothold in New England, where it has made several major acquisitions and investments in recent years.

The purchase follows the announcement in January that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co were forming a joint venture to tackle rising USA health care costs. Industries ranging from grocery stores to athletic-apparel retailers to package-delivery services have also, in the past year, seen billions in market value erased by a single Amazon announcement. "Pharmacy networks are controlled by managed care companies and pharmacy benefit managers with captive mail order capabilities".

Someday soon, the workers in Amazon-branded shirts and vans could be delivering customers' medication.

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