Advancing The Profession of Pharmacy

10 Good Things Could Come From the Amazon-PillPack Deal

by | Jul 7, 2018 | Consulting Pharmacist Education

 

“Going after your dream is achievable, the hardest part is getting started.”

​- TJ Parker, CEO PillPack

Before I begin, I want to start by saying I refuse to say “the sky is falling” … ever (even when I’m faced with extreme personal adversity).

It is in my nature to look on the bright side and try to see the opportunity in everything.

As an independent consultant pharmacist, there are things I believe Amazon will never be able to do…

  • fill an antibiotic for a sick child in the middle of the night
  • oblige a physician’s request to compound flavored gummies
  • lay eyes on a patient’s shingles and recommend they definitely should stop putting witch hazel on it
  • give a patient their annual flu vaccine year after year after year

As an entrepreneur, here are a few things I do believe Amazon will accomplish and hopefully many good things will come of their new venture into the Pharmacy industry.

First, one thing you should understand about Amazon that will bring context to my list of 10 Good Things is that Amazon is an e-commerce platform used by thousands (if not millions) of individual sellers.

Their warehouses can be used by small businesses to drop ship products to their own customers using the Amazon infrastructure.

ANYONE can do this.

(google search: “third party amazon side hustles” if you don’t believe me)

Here’s a list of 10 Good Things I hope will come from the Amazon-PillPack deal:

  1. Innovation in a very stagnant retail market for OTC products and new ways for you to sell these items to your patients online
  2. Technology to streamline the patient experience during the filling process that other pharmacies will model
  3. Better inventory control!!!
  4. A possible new wholesaler for independent pharmacies to choose from
  5. Integration of pharmacy dispensing systems with physician electronic health records
  6. Creation of new jobs for pharmacists
  7. Lobbying power and more streamlined pharmacy practice laws from state to state
  8. Ability to leverage their platform as a third party to drop ship medications to your own patients using their logistics
  9. Opportunity to provide personalized clinical services that an internet retailer cannot provide — Hello New Niches!
  10. The WILDCARD: Industry Disruption — What will happen when three business giants (Amazon, Berkshire-Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase) disrupt the ‘big three’ healthcare giants (Anthem-Cigna, UnitedHealth, Aetna-Humana)?  Only time will tell.

My default is to look for opportunity in everything and there is always opportunity in disrupted industries.

I hope that pharmacists will take advantage of this opportunity to begin adding more patient-oriented services such as medication management programs, point of care testing services, and health and wellness programs to independent pharmacies.

My great-grandfather was a pharmacist in Illinois in the 1940’s and I believe he would be surprised (and hopefully proud) of where independent pharmacy is headed today.

In 2016, I interviewed TJ Parker, CEO of PillPack, which recently sold to Amazon for a reported 1 Billion dollars, and I remember being very impressed by TJ’s connection to “brainstorming” and “masterminding”.

He didn’t really get started until he met his business partner Elliot Cohen, then an MBA student at MIT.

It was the MAGIC of their two areas of expertise coming together to achieve true innovation (much like we do when Masterminding).

That true innovation is, hopefully, what PillPack’s new deal with Amazon will bring to the Pharmacy industry.

When I  asked TJ what advice he would give to aspiring entrepreneurs, he firmly stated, “Going after your dream is achievable, the hardest part is getting started.”

My goal this year is to help independent pharmacy owners add millions of dollars in revenue to their businesses each year by implementing consultant pharmacy services.

To get started, I’m hosting two Business Planning Retreats and Masterminds with the goal of helping 24 female pharmacy owners take their businesses to that Next Level.

Check out our EventBrite page to learn more about the first workshop in Nashville, TN September 22-23rd.

About the Author

Blair Thielemier, PharmD, is an MTM consultant pharmacist specializing in pharmacy billing models. She consults on and produces e-learning programs for state and national organizations, pharmacy wholesalers, payers, technology start-ups. She has books and online courses available for individuals looking to leverage their pharmacy knowledge into monetized clinical programs at PharmapreneurAcademy.com. She speaks internationally about trends in leveraging pharmacists to improve value-based care.

 

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