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Amazon could be making move to broaden scope of PillPack services with spate of new licenses

PillPack has applied for new pharmacy licenses to allow it to ship drugs to customers in more states from Phoenix facility, including Washington.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

A slew of new licenses applied for by internet pharmacy startup PillPack has analysts predicting an expansion of its reach under new parent Amazon, which bought the company for roughly $1 billion earlier this year.

PillPack recently applied for new pharmacy licenses to allow it to ship drugs to customers in Washington, New Mexico and Indiana from its facility in Phoenix, Arizona, according to a report from CNBC which cited analysts at financial services firm Jefferies.

WHY IT MATTERS

The report said the company was previously licensed only to ship to Arizona and New Hampshire. While customers in any state can receive shipments, those shipments currently can only come from a few facilities. With the Phoenix facility licensed to deliver to more states, customers in the Western half of the state could get faster access to PillPack services.

The license application for Washington state is particularly significant as Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, making its thousands of employees potential customers.

THE TREND

Amazon's acquisition of PillPack spawned widespread speculation that the retail giant was looking to move into the pharmacy space. Amazon has already made clear it plans to make its mark on the healthcare industry with such moves as it's venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

Another analyst with GoodRX said that the relatively slow growth of PillPack following the Amazon acquisition is a signal that current big pharmacy players don't need to break a cold sweat just yet. But the deal does play into the company's plan to build a direct-to-consumer pharmacy, citing recent job postings professing such a mission.

"At Amazon, we are committed to being the most customer-centric company on earth," one listing said.

ON THE RECORD

"This move wouldn't be unusual for AMZN as the company often pilots new product offerings (Amazon Locker, Amazon Go cashier-less stores) for its own employees and/or in geographies with higher employee concentrations like Seattle prior to a national rollout," the Jefferies analysts wrote.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: beth.sanborn@himssmedia.com
 

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