Will Amazon "Crush" Pharma? DTC Marketers Should Prepare for the Inevitable | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Amazon's unrelenting drive to take over the world continues. The latest potential target of the online retailer's ambitions: prescription drugs.

 

According to reports, Amazon is exploring entering the retail pharmacy market in the U.S., a $400bn a year business that many believe is ripe for disruption. While a final decision has apparently not yet been made, it's not too early for pharma marketers to start considering the prospect of Amazon entering this huge market.

 

What it might mean for pharma marketers

The news of Amazon's interest in selling prescription drugs has, for obvious reasons, spooked investors in major pharmacy players like CVS, Walgreens and Express Scripts, all of which risk being disrupted by Amazon the way so many other businesses have.

 

For pharma marketers, Amazon's entry into this market could increase the importance of their direct-to-consumer marketing efforts… one of the best ways [pharma marketers] can prepare for the potential entry into the pharmacy market would be to evaluate their direct-to-consumer efforts in light of a changing landscape in which digital channels like social media increasingly trump established channels like television.

 

Amazon as frenemy?

While Amazon's entry into the retail pharmacy market could prove to be a net positive for pharma companies well-positioned to take advantage of it, there is also the potential that Amazon could become a frenemy.

 

How? As drug supply chain expert Stephen Buck, co-founder of Courage Health, pointed out, Amazon could eventually decide to manufacture its own generic medications. If that happened, pharma companies would find themselves competing with a company that also acts as, perhaps, one of their more important distribution channels.

 

This possibility too also demonstrates the importance of direct-to-consumer marketing, as pharma companies will want to do everything they can to establish the superiority of their drugs over generics that could one day be manufactured by Amazon.