Business

Amazon Will Purchase Somerville-Based PillPack

The pharmaceutical industry is poised to become the latest sector disrupted by the massive online retailer.


Paris, France - January 28, 2016: Amazon logotype printed on cardboard box side seen from above on a wooden parwuet floor. Amazon is an American electronic e-commerce company distribution worlwide e-commerce goods

Photo via iStock/AdrianHancu

A giant has entered the drugstore ring, and like Kyrie Irving when he’s double-teamed in the paint with nowhere to go, some of the industry’s biggest players may be forced to pivot.

On Thursday, Amazon announced its intent to buy the Somerville-based medicine-delivery startup PillPack, signaling its intent to add pharmacies to the ever-growing list of businesses it has disrupted.

PillPack, which was started by colleagues who met at MIT’s Hacking Medicine, is a full-service pharmacy that strives to help people who juggle multiple prescriptions. According to its website, the company already ships to 49 states (sorry, Hawaii) and also has offices in Manchester, New Hampshire.

“PillPack’s visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology,” Jeff Wilke, the CEO of Amazon Consumer Business, said in a statement. “PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers’ lives, and we want to help them continue making it easier for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier.”

Since the Amazon announcement, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS Health have lost around $11 billion in market value, according to CNBC. But Amazon’s foray into the drugstore industry isn’t a complete shock. In May 2017, CNBC reported the company had set out to recruit more employees with pharmaceutical backgrounds and had begun selling medical supplies domestically. And in an ostensible move to get ahead of this type of competition, CVS launched same-day prescription delivery in Boston and five other cities earlier this month.

Though the terms of the detail were not immediately available, the companies said in a joint statement that they expected the agreement to be finalized by the end of the year.

“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,” TJ Park, the co-founder and CEO of PillPack said in a press release.