On January 9 the US media CNBC confirmed that the retail giant Amazon filed a trademark for the name “Amazon Pharmacy” in the UK, Canada and Australia. Accordingly to those media the application is listed now as under “examination” by the UK Intellectual Property Office.
So the rumor is receiving more and more confirmation: as far as CNPC reported Amazon Pharmacy could start dispensing medicines and prescriptions but could also move into medical and dental instruments as surgical markets.
It was well-known that Amazon acquired in 2018 PillPack, a US online pharmacy: so “Amazon Pharmacy” seems to be one more step of the American giant in the pharmacy business.
Interestingly Sandra Gidley, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) in UK, underlined how consumer are increasingly buying online but at the same time it is important to note that medicines are not normal consumer items. Mrs. Gidley put in evidence the importance of the bricks and mortar pharmacy and the unique face-to-face interaction between patients and pharmacist.
“Each interaction is an opportunity to make a health intervention and to ensure people have no issues with their medicines and are taking them safely” declared Mrs. Gidles to C+D on 27th January. It’s clear that community pharmacy will continue playing a vital role in our communities and it is also clear that online pharmacies will never be able to cover all needs of patients. But from the other side community pharmacies have to understand how the industry is changing, how patients’ needs are changing and what patients are really asking for.
So for sure Amazon would have to upgrade its service in order to be able to deliver prescriptions and for being able to handles issues related to them. For sure Amazon does not have experience and knowledge enough for properly managing an item as medicine. Said that we know Amazon has financing for creating structures and service that such a new business would require.
So once again waiting and just looking at what will happen is not the best possible strategy. Community pharmacies can keep their role and their position if they will be able to understand how the industry is changing and how new patient’s needs are. Adapting the offer, creating new solutions, looking for efficiency that’s what the new times are asking: there is no doubt that automation and digitalization is the place where answers can come from.