A survey has revealed that the vast majority of Amazon Prime members would welcome greater involvement from the marketplace and retailer in the healthcare industry. In a survey by Deutsche Bank, 85% of Amazon Prime members in the United States with health insurance have said they would buy prescription drugs from Amazon if they offered such a service.
Back in June, it was announced that Amazon would be acquiring PillPack. It’s a pharmacy specifically aimed at Americans who take multiple daily prescriptions and they have also been making some strategic hires that suggest that healthcare is on the Amazon horizon. Pillpack sends pharmaceuticals in the post to repeat prescription customers and also tracks delivery carefully. Deutsche Bank analysts think that this represents typical Amazon behaviour when experimenting with new retail sectors:
Amazon has a history of starting small, testing the market and fine-tuning the service before launching a full-fledged commercial operation. As such, we believe it is a question of when and where — and not if — Amazon enters the healthcare space more forcefully.
– Lloyd Walmsley, Deutsche Bank
And Amazon has already made some forays into the world of healthcare. It’s working with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to provide healthcare services for US based staff. The first dedicated clinics have already opened and at the launch of that initiative the Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos explained his rationale:
The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty. Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy, while improving outcomes for employees and their families, would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind and a long-term orientation.
– Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, Amazon
In terms of loyalty, which is key to Amazon Prime, there can be few more emotive product lines than medicinal drugs, if Amazon can get it right.