Amazon has transformed the retail industry, and now it has its sights set on the pharmaceutical industry. US retail giant Amazon submitted the application to trademark authority IP Australia just over two weeks ago, edging their way into the highly regulated, Australian pharmaceuticals market.
Within the trademark application, which can be seen in its entirety here, Amazon have listed “pharmacy packaging service that aligns, sorts and packages a patient’s medications by date and time into individual packets”, “services relating to the dispensing of medications”, and “providing information to patients in the field of administering medications”.
This move into the Australian pharmacy market mirrors Amazon’s acquisition of online pharmacy startup PillPack in the US. PillPack coordinates with doctors to manage prescriptions, with licensed pharmacists and insurers overseeing the process.
However, a spokesperson from lobby group the Pharmacy Guild has brushed off Amazon’s potential entrance into the market, insisting that face-to-face prescription filling will remain the preferred choice.
“Australia’s pharmacy network model and regulatory requirements around the supply of prescription medicines has meant most people continue to source their medicines from their local pharmacy where they can get face-to-face advice and assistance” a spokesperson said. “Most Australians live within 2.5km of a local pharmacy, where they can access subsidised medicines immediately – without waiting for a delivery from overseas.”
While the spokesperson makes a decent case, the potential entrance of Amazon will inevitably disrupt the industry. While large pharmacies such as Chemist Warehouse deliver prescription medication, they also require prescriptions to be mailed and reviewed prior to dispatch. The entrance of Amazon could enable the shift of outdated procedures, allowing for easier online and rural delivery.
With the majority of prescription holders being over the age of 55, the option to receive regular medications via delivery (whether from online giant Amazon, or from their local pharmacy) could be beneficial to older, less-mobile patients. Rather than seeing Amazon as a mere disruptor, it could be an opportunity for change and progress.
What do you think of the potential Amazon Pharmacy? Do you think their entrance will push for a less regulated pharmaceutical system?
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