Seattle, WA — Last week, many Amazon Prime members received more than their usual flow of order confirmations and shipping notifications, with the retail leviathan inviting some users to “Meet PillPack, a new member of the Amazon family.” It’s been almost a year since Amazon acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy service, which first signaled that CEO Jeff Bezos had health care on the brain. With some very-Amazon promises (“Our service and shipping are free—you pay only for your medication”), Amazon’s PillPack rollout establishes it as a major player in the prescription drug space straightaway.

PillPack customers receive customized, pre-sorted packages of their daily medications, mostly for chronic conditions. The service makes it easier for people to manage and adhere to medication regimens for their comorbidities. In addition, there’s a pharmacy staff available around the clock for support. At present, PillPack can fill prescriptions for Schedule III, IV, and V medications—classes of drugs that present relatively low risks for dependence.

Jeff Wilke, head of worldwide consumer business at Amazon, is confident about the partnership. “PillPack’s visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology,” he said. “PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers’ lives, and we want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier. We’re excited to see what we can do together on behalf of customers over time.”

According to TJI, a research firm focused on Amazon, PillPack customers should soon be able to expect “rapid delivery for not just medicine but also many types of medical products, from diagnostic tools to medicines and treatments.”

Why This Matters

The PillPack-Prime duo speaks to some critical expectations that are redefining the health care landscape. In PillPack, Amazon saw a startup that had masterfully delivered on the expectation of personalized service and adherence support. And Amazon’s commitment to low prices, alongside its obliteration of shipping fees and other irritations, reflects its awareness that customers want transparency and fairness in what they’re paying for. On top of it all, with pharmacy experts available 24 hours a day, the partnership highlights that health care delivery is growing only faster, cheaper, and more attuned to the needs of the humans it serves. 

About the Author:

Ben helps spark innovative healthcare thinking as Associate Director of Innovation. Previously on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, he brings experience in engaging, rigorous storytelling to the healthcare world. Ben’s goals are to move brands to rethink their roles, own their evolving narratives, and maintain vital and vigorous consumer relationships.