Amazon.com hasn’t officially announced it is throwing its hat into the ring to build and operate a digital pharmacy.
And even though Amazon in conjunction with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., is forming a new healthcare service company aimed at using data, digital and e-commerce technology for more than 1 million employees combined, it has yet to say if any new Amazon venture would provide digital healthcare delivery services to other organizations.
But if many of Amazon’s customers had their way, they would indeed use Amazon.com to fill and refill prescriptions, comparison shop and buy health insurance online, and possibly buy other digital health services. Those conclusions come from a new survey of 1,000 consumers who have shopped Amazon in past 30 days by LendEDU, an online marketplace for private student loans, student loan refinancing, credit cards, personal loans and other financial products.
LendEDU surveyed the Amazon customers on their interest in buying financial products from the biggest online retailer. For example, 50.3% of Amazon customers said they were open to using Amazon to obtain a personal loan for a large purchase or debt consolidation, while 45.3% would shop Amazon for an auto loan and 30% for a mortgage. 55.2% of survey respondents also would use a credit monitoring service if one was created by Amazon.
For healthcare, Amazon customers would also purchase health insurance online from Amazon, but were more interested in using Amazon as their digital drugstore. When Amazon customers were asked if they would use Amazon to buy over-the-counter and prescription medicine, 54.7% responded “yes” compared with 20.7% that indicated “no” and 24.6% that were undecided.
Not as many consumers see Amazon as their health insurer, but 35.8% of survey respondents would be open to using a health insurance plan created by Amazon, the survey says.
“We asked our respondents if they would trust Amazon to provide them with over-the-counter and prescription medicine and the majority of respondents said ‘yes,’” says LendEDU research analyst Mike Brown.
The LendEDU survey of consumer expectations is among the signs that Amazon will enter healthcare market in many ways and soon, says Forrester analyst Kate McCarthy. “Perhaps no company has been as consistently disruptive as Amazon,” McCarthy says. “It has set its stakes on healthcare next.”
Amazon could impact the online drugstore market in multiple ways, say e-commerce research analysts. With a pharmacy distribution license in 13 states, Amazon could launch it owns drug delivery business or, with its deep pockets, it could buy a mail-order drug company. Additionally, with its acquisition of supermarket chain Whole Foods Market, Amazon now has a network of 470 stores in which it could set up pharmacies or pickup points to complement a mail-order or same-day delivery operation. Prescription drug delivery also could add yet another convenience factor for Amazon Prime members, among Amazon’s most frequent and loyal shoppers.
The Amazon threat has other drugstore retailers getting serious about diversifying their healthcare delivery services
“It’s ‘game on’ for a lot of pharmacies that want to keep up with the digital expectations consumers have for faster and better ways to manage their prescriptions,” says KPMG managing director Mike Wolf.
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