BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Afp) – Amazon has filed for the Amazon Pharmacy trademark in countries such as Canada, the U.K. and Australia, the latest move by the company to sell prescription drugs outside the U.S., according tomedia reports. According to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website, Amazon filed for the trademark patent on January 9, 2020.
Status is pre-formalized (pre-formalization). The trademark also lists other areas available to Amazon pharmacies, including surgical, medical dental equipment and medicines, as well as medical and veterinary preparations. On January 9, a similar trademark application appeared on the website of Australia and UKIP. A spokesman for PillPack, an Amazon-owned company, did not comment on the trademark application.
Amazon began its push into drugs in 2017, when it began exploring whether to build a team for it. The following year, the company acquired PillPack, a start-up that specializes in providing drugs to families. This suggests that Amazon has long been focused on the U.S. prescription drug market, with Its headquarters in the U.S. With the support of its Japanese partners, PillPack has also entered the Japanese prescription drug market.
The Brand of Amazon Pharmacy is relatively new. PillPack will notify its customers at the end of 2019 that it will refer to the brand in its printed materials and labels. This suggests that The PillPack may be more extensive than it is today, and involves shipping multiple drugs in clear labels each month. PillPack is not yet able to satisfy customers who have acute drug needs, but rather focus on those who have chronic conditions and are taking multiple medications repeatedly.
Applying for a trademark does not necessarily mean that international expansion is imminent. But it does suggest that Amazon will eventually go global, in line with its typical business strategy, and that the first trademark applications could signal the next step for the company.
PillPack has faced some challenges in expanding its U.S. operations. The U.S. domestic market is huge, with patients and insurers spending about $300 billion a year on prescription drugs, but competition in the U.S. market is intense and highly complex. Since Amazon acquired PillPack, it has faced lawsuits from rivals over its hiring practices, as well as an attempt by a company called Surescripts to shut down PillPack’s access to patient drug data. Prior to the acquisition, PillPack had battled a number of pharmacy benefit managers, including Express Scripts, which is owned by insurer Shinno. This almost led to PillPack losing contact with the company’s large number of insurance customers. Pharmacy benefit managers represent the insurance company’s customers to negotiate drug prices with the drug company.
In other words, Amazon PillPack has a lot of room to grow in the U.S. before it enters the international market.