Amazon to acquire PillPack online pharmacy

PillPack prepackages and mails consumers pills.									Pat Greenhouse  The Boston Globe

Amazon has announced plans to acquire PillPack, an online pharmacy that sorts patients' medications into personalized packets that are delivered directly to their door.

Shares of CVS and Walgreens declined on the news of Amazon's purchase. Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts was also lower.

PillPack, for the uninitiated, is an online pharmacy that makes it easy for people who take several different prescriptions a day. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Amazon referred to the deal as a "definitive merger agreement".

"In our view, this is only the first play in what will be an increasingly aggressive strategy by Amazon to develop a much more significant presence in the pharmacy market", he said.

"At this juncture we are not anxious about Amazon's entrance into the prescription market", Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Steven Halper said in a note.

The online retail giant also announced a joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway aimed at lowering health costs for the companies' U.S. employees. Just hours before Amazon announced it's buying PillPack, Walgreens beat analyst estimates on third-quarter revenue and earnings. The three companies said they would use big-data analysis and other high-tech tools to improve care and cut waste. News of the acquisition is also a bitter pill to swallow for Walmart, which was said to be looking into buying PillPack for under $1 billion earlier this year, according to CNBC. The firm also helps to co-ordinate refills and renewals. Amazon says it expects the deal to close during the second half of this year, pending regulatory approval.



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