He began bringing the latest literary news to every home in the United States. Then it expanded throughout the world and made its catalog have the most unthinkable items: technology, kitchenware, clothing, hygiene… Anything that could cross the customer’s mind had its own entry on the web in all kinds of shapes, sizes. . or color. After becoming the king of ecommerce, he went for the streaming pie and set up one of the most viewed platforms in the world, competing head to head with audiovisual giants like Netflix or HBO. Amazon is a success story. But something seems to be resisting the efficiency giant: health.
Amazon has been introducing health services on its platforms for years so that, in addition to watching a documentary and having your last purchase arrive in less than 24 hours, the first subscription is capable of curing you of the flu. But this journey of the Seattle company has not achieved so many successes. The latest move by the e-commerce giant has been to offer discounted medical services to its Prime subscribers in the United States, to become stronger in a four trillion dollar market.
To enter the United States healthcare market, with fewer barriers to entry and regulation than the European one, the company founded by Jeff Bezos closed last February the purchase of One Medical, an online consultation for primary care for $3.9 billion. . . Since then, Amazon has already lowered the price of the subscription twice and now Prime customers have online healthcare for nine dollars more per month. Although the service offers the possibility of scheduling in-person appointments, either the patient themselves or their insurance will pay for them.
Additionally, Amazon will also allow subscribers to add up to five more people to its One Medical service for $6 per person per month. However, the size of the offer will depend on how often the client gets sick each year and how much their personal insurance charges for virtual appointments.
The American company’s first attempt to also gain a foothold in the health care market dates back to 2018, when the Seattle company bought the online pharmacy PillPack for $1 billion. Back then, Prime users could buy generic medications for five dollars a month. A year later, the company launched its Amazon Care service, with which its users could carry out teleconsultations with doctors and nurses through a chat or video conference. The offensive did not stop and in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, Amazon launched a new package of services, this time for companies: Amazon HealthLake, a service that allows healthcare companies to store, transform and analyze all their data in the Cloud.
However, the e-commerce giant had to back off its health offensive and in August 2022 announced the closure of Amazon Care “after not achieving the planned objectives.” Just a few months later, the company unveiled its new attempt: Amazon Clinic, which reconnected doctors and patients via chat and offered a broader drug sales service. To delve even further into the sale of medicines, Amazon has also tested alliances with companies in the sector such as insurance provider Blue Shield of
California, which in August announced that prescription medications would reach its customers through the platform.
Bigtech companies launch themselves into pharma
The attempt to enter the pharmaceutical sector has not only been carried out by online retailers. Other major Silicon Valley giants have explored their own ways to open their business to the healthcare sector: Apple, Google and Microsoft have their own strategy in the sector, although they have opted for another strategy, that of Amazon: devices instead of services.
Tim Cook himself, CEO of Apple, said in 2020 that he wanted the company’s greatest contribution to humanity to be investment in health. To do this, the Cupertino company has relied on the Apple Watch. The company seeks to make its digital watch a clinical tool for use in medical research, with more than 150 types of data collected through vital signs monitoring. When it was released, the watch was marketed as a synthesis between technology and fashion, but when Apple began to present it as a health tool, sales skyrocketed and it now represents 30% of global sales of sports wearables.
To address it, Google bought Fitbit in 2021 for $2.1 billion, a platform that offers data on heart rate variability, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation through smart watches and has more than 30 million users. currently active. Google’s offensive has also looked towards the pharmaceutical industry and its parent company, Alphabet, has since 2021 had its own company dedicated to drug discovery: Isomorphic Labs.
Microsoft’s offering has also gone towards data to support pharmaceutical companies in clinical trials. Among the company’s collaborators is Novartis, since both companies signed a collaboration agreement in 2019, Jackson Laboratory and UCB Pharm, or Novo Nordisk.