Amazon, which was founded in 1994, has grown from an online bookstore that competed with Barnes & Noble and local booksellers to a conglomerate involved a range of industries. The company recently recorded a new milestone, launching virtual healthcare through its One Medical service.
This healthcare program can be accessed by members of Amazon Prime, either annually at $99 or monthly at $9. This is quite a steal, especially when compared to rates of nonmembers, which stand at $198 annually and $18 monthly. The One Medical service has different offerings, including its Treat Me Now feature, which offers guidance on common illnesses such as colds, infections and allergies, as well as 24/7 access to video chats with certified healthcare providers.
This virtual care program is the company’s latest move toward becoming a key player in the healthcare industry.
In 2019, the firm launched a virtual care platform for its employees dubbed Amazon Care. In 2021, the platform was made available to other employers. However, in late 2022, the company decided to withdraw it from the market, citing that the platform didn’t appeal to large enterprises as it wasn’t fully developed.
Despite this setback, however, Amazon bought out One Medical for almost $4 billion in early 2023. Later this year, it expanded the healthcare service to encompass around-the-clock telemedicine visits. In addition to this, it launched a monthly pharmaceutical subscription dubbed RxPass, which can be accessed by members of Amazon Prime.
Amazon is one among other companies also looking to expand their share of the healthcare market. Walmart, another retail giant, has also made progress toward becoming a major provider in this market. A few years ago, the retail giant began launching brick-and-mortar clinics across America, hoping to achieve its objective of becoming the neighborhood health destination in the country. In 2021, it also launched insulin drugs aimed at improving affordability of medicine for patients with diabetes.
Earlier in the year, Walmart announced that it planned to increase its clinics, hoping to add 28 new locations in 2024. Additionally, it was recently reported that the retail giant was in discussions to purchase majority stake in ChenMed. ChenMed is a primary care provider that mainly deals with seniors.
Walmart and Amazon are part of a larger pipeline of retailer-to-healthcare providers that has grown in the last few years. Pharmacy chains such as CVS and Walgreens are a few others that have greatly invested in becoming primary care providers.
Healthcare e-commerce platforms such as NextPlat Corp. (NASDAQ: NXPL) (NASDAQ: NXPLW) are also helping to popularize virtual healthcare, which could result in the majority of the population preferring to access all the healthcare services and products that they need via the internet.
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