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Amazon’s $3.9 billion bid to upgrade health care

The purchase of primary care provider One Medical signals Amazon’s renewed interest in the challenging health care sector

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In this June 16, 2014, file photo, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle.

In this June 16, 2014, file photo, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, Amazon became the second publicly traded company to be worth $1 trillion, hot on the heels of Apple. The company’s blowout success made its founder and CEO, Bezos, No. 1 on Forbes’ billionaires list this year.

Ted S. Warren, Associated Press

Thursday, Amazon announced “a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire One Medical. The company’s press release details an all-cash acquisition at $18 per share “valued at approximately $3.9 billion, including One Medical’s net debt.”

One Medical is a primary care, brick-and-mortar health care provider started in 2007 by Tom Lee. According to Axios, the company went public in January 2020, raising $245 million and a valuation of $1.7 billion. Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that CVS and others were considering the purchase.

Amazon’s hit-or-miss health care record

In January 2018, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a partnership dubbed “Haven,” to improve employee satisfaction and reduce the costs of health care, per Business Wire. However, the three giants did not succeed in reforming the U.S. health care system. Forbes reported that in February 2021, after three years and few results, Haven was shuttered.

In June 2018, Amazon announced the purchase of PillPack, Inc. — a company that “delivers medications in pre-sorted dose packaging, coordinates refills and renewals, and makes sure shipments are sent on time,” per Amazon’s press release. In the company’s SEC filings, it was revealed the acquisition was for “cash consideration of approximately $753 million.” Still operational, the business has faced its share of roadblocks.

The Department of Justice announced that PillPack must pay $5.79 million in a fraud lawsuit settlement after billing the government for “more insulin pens than patients needed according to their prescriptions and falsely under-reported the days-of-supply of insulin dispensed.” According to Axios, the practice of over-billing was “widely acknowledged” and “higher-ups dismissed staff concerns about the matter.”

Moving forward

The acquisition will build on the current Amazon Care offering, which provides telehealth visits for employees of some companies including Hilton, per The Washington Post.

In the Thursday morning press release, Neil Lindsay, the senior vice president of Amazon Health Services, said “we want to be one of the companies that helps dramatically improve the health care experience over the next several years.”