Amazon plots a course into the healthcare industry

By Sooraj Shah
Technology of Business reporter

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightAmazonimage captionAmazon has moved into selling medicine in the US

"I think the impact would be huge," says Ahsan Bhatti, owner of online pharmacy Quick Meds.

He is concerned about the prospect of online giant Amazon moving into the pharmacy business in the UK.

"I'm worried. They'll have a massive marketing budget, and they'll definitely take a sizeable chunk out of every other pharmacy on the market. There will be closures as a direct result of it," he says.

Mr Bhatti will be closely watching developments in the US where Amazon Pharmacy launched in November.

The service allows customers to make pharmacy transactions through Amazon and receive unlimited, free, two-day deliveries if they have a Prime membership.

Investors have taken note, with pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS seeing their share prices fall.

Although Amazon hasn't yet announced plans for other countries, chemists in the UK are preparing themselves for a new competitor.

Mr Bhatti is one of a growing number of pharmacists to sell products online, but Amazon's entry would also be likely to affect High Street pharmacies as well.

"What is lacking in every other pharmacy across the UK is the logistics and Amazon do that exceptionally well. It's exactly what consumers want – having a prescription by 10am and dispensed by Amazon to them in the evening. The likes of Lloyds Pharmacy and Boots can't do that, and independent pharmacies can only do this on a local level," says Mr Bhatti.

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