Amazon to buy PillPack in move into pharmacy in US

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For years, pharmacy operators have held their breath as rumors circulated about Amazon's interest in capturing a piece of the 4 billion prescriptions sold to Americans each year.

Fears that the tech giant was primed to shake up the pharmaceutical.

The retailing behemoth made its first significant move into the pharmacy business by buying PillPack, an online company that ships medications to customers' homes, reports the Wall Street Journal.

PillPack, which is aimed at consumers who take multiple medications, presorts customers' prescriptions and helps manage refills and shipping.

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"PillPack's visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology", Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumer Jeff Wilke said in a statement.

"We know that we have to change the level of our services to the customers and we are working quite hard on that direction, but we are not anxious", Pessina said. The big pharmacy chains have been bracing for Amazon's arrival, and this deal could "shake up the drugstore industry", per CNBC. "The market and the press are making it out to be a bigger deal than what it actually is", Lekraj said.

Shares in Walgreens Boots Alliance - which owns Boots in the United Kingdom, and CVS Health and Rite Aid were sent tumbling on Thursday afternoon, wiping $12.8bn (£9.7bn) off their combined market value.

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PillPack has raised more than $100 million in investor funding. Led by Parker, a licensed pharmacist, it was an early entrant into the field of online medication delivery. The company sorts your pills by dose, including vitamins and over-the-counter medicine, into personalized daily packets and delivers everything right to your door each month. The specifics of what the company will do, though, are still unknown.

PillPack was a 2014 finalist for Co.Design's Innovation By Design Awards. Pharmacy and health benefits companies have long fretted that they'd be next. The companies patched things up a few weeks later.

That's bad news for Walgreens.

PillPack revealed the news via its Twitter account, and the deal is expected to be finalised by the end of the year.

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