Amazon may become even more of a healthcare marketer, with the addition of drug marketing. In considering the product offering, Amazon joins Google and Salesforce in possibly joining the cloud healthcare marketing race.
The news about Amazon emerged on Tuesday from CNBC in “Amazon Is Hiring People to Break Into the Multibillion-dollar Pharmacy Market.” But in a signal that markets may not see the move as imminent, Target Marketing noticed stocks appeared unchanged by the Tuesday news as of Thursday afternoon. (Although Target Marketing’s sister publication, Total Retail, noted on Thursday that investors were selling off shares of CVS Health and Walgreens after the news.)
CNBC says Amazon is thinking seriously about entering pharmaceutical sales because “this year, with the rise of high-deductible plans and the trend toward consumers paying for health care, it is ready to get more serious” about what Amazon had been considering doing for a long time.
As for Google and Salesforce, CNBC reported back in early April that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was acquiring startups in the healthcare space and eyeing top talent in life sciences and healthcare. In September 2015, Neil Versel — now of GenomeWeb — reported when he worked for MedCity News about the creation of the Salesforce Health Cloud, which collects patient data and could have a secondary purpose of helping healthcare marketers create patient personas and target those audiences.
Rejoining the Amazon development, CNBC reports:
“The company recently started selling medical supplies and equipment in the U.S., and is hiring for its ‘professional health care program’ to ensure that the company is meeting regulatory requirements. It also hired Mark Lyons two months ago from Premera Blue Cross. A source said that Lyons is tasked with building an internal pharmacy benefits manager for Amazon employees, which might be later scaled out.”
CNBC adds that Amazon expanded Prime Now delivery in Japan to “include drug and cosmetic sales” and has a page titled “pharmaceuticals.”
Entering the healthcare marketing cloud race appears to be a long-time dream, CNBC reports:
“Amazon previously backed a ‘dotcom’ darling called Drugstore.com in the late 1990s, with CEO Jeff Bezos taking on a director role. At that time, it was speculated that Amazon could carve out a huge chunk of the prescription and over-the-counter drug sales market. Drugstore.com later sold to Walgreens, which eventually shut it down.”
What do you think, marketers?
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Marketers who’d like to discuss the cloud race into healthcare marketing, as well as other challenges and opportunities the vertical, are invited to attend the June 15 dinner and panel discussion in Philadelphia. Register now for the Target Marketing Healthcare Roundtable.