After flirting with the idea for years, Amazon may finally be ready to really go after the pharmaceutical market.
Anonymous sources reportedly told CNBC tech reporter Christine Farr that Amazon is hiring a manager to lead a team focused on pharmaceutical sales and create a strategy to break into the space. Amazon is also recruiting additional employees to focus on pharmaceuticals. The team would be part of the consumable business department at Amazon, according to the report.
Amazon lists job openings for several healthcare-focused business development managers, solutions architects, and researchers. As Farr notes, Amazon recently started selling medical supplies in the U.S. and has expanded its Prime Now delivery service to includes drugs in Japan.
The pharmaceutical industry is certainly lucrative but regulatory barriers can make it tricky. That may be why Amazon has only been marginally involved in drug retail so far.
Amazon did come close to becoming a major player in online pharmaceutical sales in 2011 when Bellevue-based Drugstore.com was looking for a buyer. Amazon maintained an ownership stake in the company from a legacy investment made in 1999, sparking rumors that the Seattle e-commerce giant might acquire Drugstore.com. In the end, however, the online drugstore sold to Walgreens and was eventually shut down last fall.