Amazon acquires PillPack, an online pharmacy that delivers medicine to your door

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Beyond its recently announced move to form a venture with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway to tackle wasteful health care spending, the PillPack acquisition is the first substantive step toward potentially upending the prescription drug supply chain.

"Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the health care industry to help people throughout the United States who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience", PillPack chief executive TJ Parker said in a statement. Once the deal closes, Amazon could potentially start selling prescription drugs directly through its site, delivering them via mail and impacting retail pharmacies.

Pharmacy stocks in the USA market dropped on the deal announcement, most notably those of CVS (-8.1%), Rite Aid (-3.1%), and Walgreens Boots Alliance (-9.2%).

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Walgreens shareholders seem particularly nervous about Amazon's advances into the pharmaceutical space.

TJ Parker, PillPack's co-founder and chief executive, said: "Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the healthcare industry to help people throughout the USA who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience".

Terms were not disclosed. Shares of drug wholesalers Mckesson Corp, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen were also down. Pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts was also lower.

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Amazon's purchase of an online chemist that opens an immediate nationwide drug network in the U.S. has shaved billions off the value of three major pharmacy chains. The firm's shares have spiked 435% since the beginning of 2015, more than 14 times the return for the benchmark S&P 500 over the same period. "Even if PillPack is a network provider today, it does not mean it will be a network provider in the future, especially if Amazon has designs of significantly ramping its prescription volume".

"Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the healthcare industry to help people throughout the U.S. who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience", PillPack co-founder and CEO TJ Parker said in a statement. It also offers a business opportunity for those companies best placed to meet the healthcare needs of this growing population. Stay tuned for the latest twists and turns as the nation's largest corporations battle for healthcare supremacy.

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