Amazon hints at national online pharmacy plans with new licenses

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Amazon’s purchase of San Francisco-based online pharmacy startup PillPack last year represented a huge splash by the company into the retail pharmacy space, leveraging

Now the combined company’s effort to win approval for more pharmaceutical licenses hint at its larger ambitions in the space.

Pillpack’s Phoenix, Arizona facility has been granted nine additional state pharmacy licenses in the past two months, allowing that site to sell into other states, according to a research note from financial services firm Jefferies.

The Arizona site now has active pharmacy licenses across 19 states with three applications pending. This is in addition to the company’s mail-order facilities in Manchester, New Hampshire (which has licenses in 49 states), Miami, Florida (which has licenses in 45 states) and Austin, Texas (which has licenses in 43 states). Pillpack’s New York location has licenses in only two states.

While Pillpack has been significantly ramping up its efforts to expand its capabiltities, the research analysts predicted the initial strategy for the company’s pharmacy rollout will be to launch prescription drug sales to its employee base before offering the products to the general Amazon consumer.

Additionally, Amazon’s footprint of five locations pales in comparison with Caremark or Optum, which have 26 and 18, mail-order facilities respectively.

“We believe Amazon will still have to acquire or build a few more mail pharmacies/grow capacity before being able to go live with a consumer pharmacy offering,” the analysts wrote.

The firm also examined the company’s private label healthcare products and found that its Solimo brand of offerings have grown significantly over January.

Picture: David Ryder, Getty Images



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