Amazon has been eyeing the healthcare space for years now, but according to a new report from CNBC, the company is closer to making the plunge than previously expected.
The report, based on anonymous sources familiar with the issue, said Amazon is in the final stages of deciding if and how to delve into the pharmacy space and begin selling prescription drugs online.
Sources said the decision will come before Thanksgiving. The company recently hired Premera Blue Cross executive Mark Lyons as a senior manager of pharmacy benefits.
The step would be a big move for the tech giant. The company has been a game changer in cloud computing, retail and other industries, but hasn’t yet made a serious foray into healthcare.
Amazon Web Services, its cloud platform, is a common go-to for medical and health companies and the company has been increasings its presence in that niche.
But taking on a role in the prescription drug world is a whole different kettle of fish. Amazon would be entering a deeply entrenched market with well-established competition and a thick tangle of regulatory challenges.
On the other hand, the industry is ripe for disruption and could prove to be highly lucrative. Healthcare spending now accounts for almost one-fifth of the nation’s GDP, and the prescription drug market alone easily tops hundreds of millions of dollars.