The next retail frontier that Amazon is eyeing up with a view to disruption seems to be prescription drugs. The move has led to fevered speculation from pundits as to whether even Amazon can unseat the powerful and entrenched pharamaceutical companies from their enviable dominance. They could be moving into a whole new type of tablets.
It’s reported that Amazon has already acquired the licenses required to sell prescription drugs in a dozen US states including Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee.
It’s reported that a decision will be made by Amazon in the next few weeks as to whether they will take the plunge and move into what is a very lucrative area of commerce.
Several aspects of this advance into another sector from Amazon are of particular interest. In the US, needless to say, the pharmaceutical companies have a much stronger stranglehold on branded drugs. But typically, prescriptions are fulfilled in pharmacies and in person which might represent a barrier for Amazon. Equally, the potential for a number of drugstores, attached to the Amazon, could have all manner of uses.
In a more futurist vein, it’s worth considering how Amazon’s Alexa might fit into a general offering regarding healthcare and automated voice recognition diagnosis. That could be a very long way of but Doctor Alexa could be part of a grander, longer term plan.