Amazon sends pharmacy stocks tumbling after snapping up online chemist

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

Inc said on Thursday it would buy online pharmacy PillPack, a small but significant step into the USA health care sector, sending shares of drug distributors and retailers lower. Walgreens Boots Alliance, the newest Dow component, plunged more than 10%. Drugs are sorted by day and time, rather than medication.

Founded in 2013, Boston-based PillPack is an online pharmacy that ships pre-packaged doses of medication straight to customers' doors. The closely held firm has software that automates many routine pharmacy tasks, such as verifying when a refill is due, determining co-pays, and confirming insurance.

"Not only has Amazon finally made a solid move into pharmacy, it has done so via an innovative supplier which helps patients manage and organize their prescription drugs", Saunders said in a research note.

PillPack has mail-order pharmacy licenses in all 50 US states, which could allow Amazon to expand quickly.

While the details of the deal aren't yet public, Amazon is said to be paying roughly $1 billion for PillPack, a company that was valued at $300 million as recently as 2016. Meanwhile, Walmart- another mega-cap retail with designs on entering healthcare- also saw shares fall.

At the same time, Amazon shares rose 2.1 percent, adding more than $16 billion in market value, the story said.

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At the time, Parker argued that the company was working to protect its monopoly on home-delivered prescriptions, which Express Scripts disputed.

Amazon set its sights on the pharmacy market Thursday with the acquisition of tech-focused retailer PillPack, sending shock waves through the sector over prospects of disruption by the USA online colossus. Amazon will retain the Manchester location, according to PillPack.

"When Amazon sneezes, everybody else catches a cold", said Joseph Feldman, an analyst with Telsey Advisory.

Leading drugstore chains are already feeling the effects of Amazon's deal. "And I think that that's more likely than not what you're going to see today"'.

The startup has raised north of $120 million in funding from big-name backers that include TechStars, Menlo Ventures, and Accel. Bloomberg reported that an unnamed source with knowledge of the matter said that Amazon will pay about $1 billion for PillPack.

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