Here's what we know about Amazon's foray into healthcare

Speculation about Amazon's entry into healthcare has been rampant for years, but recent announcements by the e-commerce giant make it clear that it's jumping into the healthcare arena in a big way.

Here's a breakdown of Amazon's healthcare ventures, acquisitions, hiring trends and product developments reported by Becker's Hospital Review. The timeline includes Amazon's healthcare moves since announcing it would launch a healthcare company with Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase in January 2018. 

Jan. 30. Amazon announces it will collaborate with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan to launch a company aimed at cutting healthcare costs for their U.S. employees. Shares of other healthcare companies plummet shortly after the announcement.

Feb. 13.  Sources familiar with Amazon's plans say it is pushing to turn its medical supplies business into a major supplier to U.S. hospitals and outpatient clinics. The idea is to establish a one-stop-shop for health systems through its separate business-to-business marketplace, Amazon Business. On several occasions, Amazon invited hospital executives to its Seattle headquarters to float ideas for expanding this medical supplies business.

Feb. 21. Reports surface that Amazon has quietly launched an exclusive line of 60 over-the-counter healthcare products. The line is a private label brand called Basic Care and has products ranging from ibuprofen to hair regrowth treatment.

March 9. Amazon hires more than 20 employees, including software engineers, data analysts and business strategists with years of experience in healthcare or pharmaceutical industries. Employees from CVS Health, Express Scripts and UnitedHealth Group have been "poached" over an 18-month period.

March 19.  Former FDA Chief Health Informatics Officer Taha Kasshout joins Amazon's Grand Challenge healthcare team, referred to internally as 1492. Mr. Kasshout will oversee business development for the team's healthcare products.

March 20. A person familiar with the plan goes public to disclose Amazon's healthcare team is interested in developing healthcare technologies for the elderly. Amazon's interest in health technology for aging populations dates back several years, when company officials met with the AARP, a lobby that supports older Americans, to discuss various collaborations and share research. Additionally, Babak Parviz, PhD, Amazon's vice president of special projects, spoke about its plans to aid elderly through technology at an event in February. Dr. Parviz also reportedly took a cross-country bus tour in the spring of 2014 to learn how technology could assist the aging population.

March 21. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants Amazon a new patent for a delivery drone that can respond to human gestures. This is not Amazon's only patent to expand its air delivery service. Experts say this delivery service may disrupt supply chains across all industries.

April 16. The e-commerce giant's separate business-to-business marketplace, Amazon Business, shelves its plan to become a major pharmaceutical supplier to large U.S. hospitals and outpatient clinics. The company was unable to persuade larger hospitals and health systems to adhere to a different purchasing process. Instead, Amazon will focus on beefing up its less sensitive medical supply offerings to smaller hospitals and clinics.

May 11. CNBC reports that Amazon has built a team within its Alexa division to explore ways of making the device, which is powered by artificial intelligence, more useful in healthcare. The healthcare team, dubbed "health & wellness," is exploring disease management, aging and care for mothers and infants.

June 6. CNBC divulges several projects that Grand Challenge is working on. One project involves cancer research in collaboration with Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The duo hopes to apply machine learning to prevent and cure cancers. Grand Challenge also is working with Amazon Web Services, the company's cloud business, on a project called Hera. This project is intended to help commercial health insures by reviewing EHR data to point out coding mistakes or misdiagnoses. In addition, the team is exploring ways to use technology to help the elderly.

June 20. Atul Gawande, MD, a surgeon at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital and contributor to The New Yorker, is tapped to lead Amazon, Berkshire, and JP Morgan's healthcare company. He will assume the CEO role at the venture July 9.

June 28. Amazon enters into an agreement to acquire online pharmacy startup PillPack for about $1 billion. PillPack is a full-service pharmacy that manages prescription medications for its customers by packaging, organizing and delivering the medications. Shares of major drugstore chains and pharmaceutical distributors plunge after the news surfaces.

Read a timeline leading up to Amazon's plan to launch a healthcare company with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase here.

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