Amazon; Reuters; Marianne Ayala/Insider
- Amazon has been pushing deeper into healthcare over the past few years.
- It’s focused on providing primary care and dispensing prescriptions through Amazon Pharmacy.
- It hasn’t been smooth sailing, and the tech giant has shut down some projects. Here’s a timeline.
Amazon has big plans to disrupt healthcare.
Last year, the retail and tech giant made waves when it announced plans to acquire the primary-care company One Medical.
In January, Amazon released a subscription program allowing users to get generic prescriptions for $5 a month. The fee covers all eligible prescriptions for Prime members, in a program that rivals other retailers offering low-price generic medications.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has called Amazon a “significant disruptor” of the medical-care field, according to leaked audio obtained by Insider’s Eugene Kim and Blake Dodge.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for every healthcare project. Haven, Amazon’s joint venture with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway, shut down in early 2021 after three years of trying to improve care and lower healthcare costs for the three companies’ employees. In August, it shut down Amazon Care, a big homegrown primary-care bet.
Analysts think in 2023 Amazon will continue to build on its healthcare business through more acquisitions.
Read on to see the rise and fall of some of Amazon’s biggest healthcare ambitions.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters; Yuri Gripas/Reuters; Mark Wilson/Getty Images
The announcement that Buffett, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, and then-Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos were teaming up to form an independent venture that would focus on healthcare for their US employees sent shockwaves through the healthcare industry.
Healthcare stocks tumbled on the official news that Amazon had its eye on healthcare.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
In June 2018, Amazon said it bought the online pharmacy PillPack, a deal worth $750 million. The acquisition clarified how Amazon planned to disrupt the healthcare industry, by bringing its massive delivery capabilities to prescription drugs.
At the time, the pilot was limited to employees in the Seattle area.
After two years on the job, Gawande stepped down to focus more on pandemic work. He stayed on as Haven’s chair.
Two years after buying PillPack, Amazon unveiled its Amazon Pharmacy service — again sending healthcare stocks tumbling. As part of the service, Amazon offered discounts to Prime members and free delivery.
Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters; Amazon; Skye Gould/Business Insider; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
Amazon Care spent its first year providing care for Amazon employees. Insider’s Dodge reported that it planned to bring the primary-care service to other companies and that Amazon had started pitching the service to companies such as Zillow.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Haven struggled with a lack of focus, it didn’t get much support from Amazon, and its one big project failed, Insider, Stat, and The Information reported.
Throughout 2021, Amazon geared up to launch Amazon Care for its employees and other companies across the US. Its first client was Precor, a fitness company owned by Peloton. Amazon tried to win over insurers but struggled to get them on board.
Amazon considered other ways to grow its healthcare footprint that year, including setting up physical pharmacies to complement its online prescription business.
Amazon’s announced acquisition of the primary-care company One Medical for $3.9 billion is its third-biggest acquisition ever. Industry leaders told Insider it showed that Amazon was betting big on care delivery as a way to supercharge its growth into healthcare.
Amazon Care; Rachel Mendelson/Insider
One month after striking a deal for One Medical, Amazon announced its plan to shut down Amazon Care, its homegrown care service. In a memo, Amazon said the decision came after months of consideration.
Employees told Insider’s Dodge that Amazon got in its own way when trying to take on the healthcare industry, which led to the fall of Amazon Care.
In the wake of Amazon Care’s shutdown, Insider reported the tech giant was quietly working on a project code-named Katara that planned to treat common conditions like hair loss online.
Two months later, Amazon publicly launched the project, called Amazon Clinic.
David Ryder/Getty Images
At an internal conference, Amazon scientists and engineers discussed ways to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help improve medical research, Insider’s Kim reported. Taha Kass-Hout, its chief medical officer at the time, was involved in the discussions.
In January, Amazon announced its latest healthcare venture, RxPass. The program allows Prime members to get many common generic medicines for just $5 a month.