アマゾン、まもなく処方薬を販売開始   Amazon will sell prescription drugs soon

今回の記事は「アマゾン、まもなく処方薬を販売開始  」という内容です。さていったいどういう内容なのでしょうか。




Amazon is already in the healthcare business and sells over-the-counter drugs.



  • license : [noun] ライセンス、使用許諾。何かを行うまたは生産する正式な認可または法的権利
  • stake : [noun] 賭け金。事業、状況、またはシステムの株または利益
  • sign : [verb] 署名する。署名を行って、(文書または他の書類を)認可すること
  • agreement : [noun] 合意。なされるべきことについて人々が合意する協定、契約など
  • line : [noun] 在庫品、仕入れ品、品ぞろえ、その種のもの。同じ会社によって作られる似たような、または関連する製品群








When news broke that Amazon was acquiring online pharmacy company Pillpack, it sent shockwaves in the stock market with shares of major pharmacy chains plummeting downward. On the face of it, the acquisition doesn’t look to be a huge benefit, considering Pillpack’s modest profit of $100 million last year. However, the $1-billion deal catapults the e-commerce behemoth into the market of prescription drugs.

Pillpack packages, organizes and delivers drugs by tailoring them to the dosages of buyers. It delivers drugs with the specific number of medications required by consumers at specific times. It raised $118 million in funding from investors including CRV and Menlo Ventures, and its revenues exceeded than $100 million last year. In 2016, the startup was valued at $330 million.

The acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of the year, implies that Amazon will be able to sell prescription drugs across 50 states where Pillpack has a license. With Amazon’s sheer size, it could have a major advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. As expected, the news had a negative impact on the shares of pharmacy companies like Walgreens Boots Alliance, Rite Aid, and CVS Health. Even drug distributors like Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen took a hit. On the other hand, Amazon’s shares jumped by $19.8 billion.

In the tussle for the pharmacy market, we must also keep our eyes on Walmart, Amazon’s closest competitor in the online space. Walmart is also in the pharmacy retail business and is engaged in a tit-for-tat battle with Amazon. Interestingly, Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack comes close on the heels of Walmart’s acquisition of Flipkart, which was also targeted by Amazon. For Pillpack too, Walmart had cast its net with a bid, but Amazon took advantage of Walmart’s slow peddling to win the company over.

Amazon has already ventured into Walmart’s main grocery market by acquiring Whole Foods in August last year. Since then, Amazon has steadily made inroads into the grocery market. According to reports, its U.S. online grocery sales increased by 48% year-over-year to $650 million in the first quarter.

Amazon’s penetration into the prescription drugs market is expected to be slow. It all depends on whether Amazon is as successful in marketing drugs as its other online products.

The stakes are high because the prescription drugs market in America is worth $453 billion. Preempting Amazon’s move, many companies in healthcare have joined forces. Rhode Island-based CVS Pharmacy is securing a $68-billion partnership with health insurance company Aetna. Similarly, pharma company Express Scripts is signing an agreement with health insurer Cigna. Pharmacy companies are also offering new services to be ahead in the game. CVS recently announced that it would introduce one- and two-day deliveries to its customers countrywide and offer same-day delivery to more cities than earlier.

Reacting to Amazon’s move, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina said (quoted from CNBC), "Yes, it's a declaration of intent from Amazon. [But] the pharmacy world is much more complex than the delivery of a certain [pills or] packages."

On the other hand, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke explained the logic behind the acquisition. He said (quoted from CNBC), “PillPack’s visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology. 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. We’re excited to see what we can do together on behalf of customers over time.”

Amazon is already in the healthcare business and sells over-the-counter drugs through a partnership with Perrigo. It has also obtained pharmacy licenses in several states and distributes medical devices all over the U.S. Last year, it introduced a line of generic medicines called Basic Care. But the acquisition of Pillpack will push it into the business of prescription drugs.

Experts are now analyzing the repercussions of Amazon’s move. It could potentially disrupt the pharmacy industry. Pillpack, founded in 2013, supplies pre-sorted prescription drugs to people in the U.S. who take multiple medications. It is a big market considering the aging population. A Morgan Stanley study has shown that the average American citizen over the age of 65 has approximately 37 prescriptions per year. If Amazon can tap into that market, it could also boost its Prime memberships among the elderly.

However, Amazon would have to market prescription drugs in such a way as to encourage consumers to shift to the online platform for buying drugs. That calls for a change in mindset of buyers. Many people would rather step across the road to a chemist to buy a drug for a common ailment than to order online and wait for its arrival.




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