Amazon sends pharmacy stocks tumbling after snapping up online chemist

Amazon buys PillPack an online pharmacy that was rumored to be talking to Walmart		
		
	Ingrid Lunden

       @	   
   	7 hours

Amazon's ambitions to become an online pharmacy are finally coming to fruition.

Founded in 2013, Boston-based PillPack is an online pharmacy that ships pre-packaged doses of medication straight to customers' doors. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2018, according to a statement from the companies.

The online retail giant also announced a joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway aimed at lowering health costs for the companies' United States employees.

"PillPack's visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology", Jeff Wilke, Amazon's CEO of worldwide consumer, said in a release.

"Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the health care industry to help people throughout the U.S. who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience", PillPack chief executive TJ Parker said in a statement.

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There's a reason shares of CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid were tumbling Thursday, and it can be summed up in one word: Amazon. Shares of Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, and Express Scripts all dropped more than 3% on the news.

Walgreens' chief executive, Stefano Pessina, said he was "not particularly worried" about the PillPack deal in an earnings conference call with analysts on Thursday, describing it only as a "declaration of intent" by Amazon. The trend has been playing out repeatedly over the past year, with grocery stores, athletic-apparel retailers, and package-delivery services among the afflicted groups. Walgreens stock was down 9.46% in pre-market trading. The companies said the deal would have to clear regulatory hurdles before it is complete. The firm's shares have spiked 435% since the beginning of 2015, more than 14 times the return for the benchmark S&P 500 over the same period.

"PillPack makes it simple for any customer to take the right medication at the right time, and feel healthier", said TJ Parker, co-founder and CEO of PillPack.

"Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the healthcare industry to help people throughout the U.S. who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience", PillPack co-founder and CEO TJ Parker said in a statement. Stay tuned for the latest twists and turns as the nation's largest corporations battle for healthcare supremacy.

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