Does Amazon’s $1 billion startup acquisition mark a move into pharmaceuticals?


Amazon is set to acquire US pharmacy startup PillPack in a $US1 billion ($1.36 billion) deal.

Founded in 2013, PillPack is a pharmacy service that delivers regular medication in pre-sorted packaging, coordinating renewals and sending out refills at the correct times.

The startup has previously raised a total of $US118 million ($160.59 million), with investors including Atlas Venture, Accel Partners and and Techstars.

The acquisition suggests Amazon is planning to make a serious move into the pharmaceuticals space — something that could be a cause for concern among traditional pharmacy businesses.

Already, according to a Business Insider report, three major pharmacies in the US have seen their share prices fall by a combined $US14.6 billion ($19.89 billion).

In a statement, PillPack founder and chief executive T J Parker said: “Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the healthcare industry to help people throughout the US who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience.”

Jeff Wilke, chief of Worldwide Consumer at Amazon, said the online retail giant wants to help PillPack in “meaningfully improving its customers’ lives”.

“We want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier,” he added. 

Amazon launched its Australian operations in April last year, however, the retail giant has not revealed any plans to enter the pharmaceuticals space in other markets, as of yet.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the second half of 2018.

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