Amazon to Buy Online Pharmacy Startup PillPack as Entry Into Health Care

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Amazon on Thursday announced it had signed an agreement to acquire PillPack, an online pharmacy.

Walmart was looking to buy PillPack for under $1 billion, CNBC had reported in April.

Walgreens scrapped its deal to buy Rite Aid outright past year after failing to win antitrust approval, and said it would instead buy some of the smaller rival's US stores.

'PillPack's visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology, ' said Jeff Wilke, head of Amazon Worldwide Consumer. The startup, which was founded in 2013, ships medications to people in the U.S. in pre-sorted dose packaging and caters to people who take multiple prescriptions a day.

Terms were not disclosed.

PillPack holds pharmacy licenses in all 50 states and is authorized to deliver in 49 states and is an in-network pharmacy for major Medicare Part D plans.

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Shares of CVS Health (CVS.N) were down almost 8 percent, while Walgreen Boots Alliance (WBA.O) fell 10 percent. The firm also helps to co-ordinate refills and renewals.

"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 know that we have to change the level of our services to the customers and we are working quite hard on that direction, but we are not anxious", Pessina said. Shares of Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, and Express Scripts all dropped more than 3% on the news.

"When Amazon sneezes, everybody else catches a cold", said Joseph Feldman, an analyst with Telsey Advisory. Drugs are sorted by day and time, rather than medication. Pharmacy and health benefits companies have long fretted that they'd be next. Just hours before Amazon announced it's buying PillPack, Walgreens beat analyst estimates on third-quarter revenue and earnings.

A September 2016 funding round valued the Boston-based startup at around $360 million, according to venture capital data base PitchBook.

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