Amazon 'poaches' 20 jobs from CVS, Express Scripts, UnitedHealth: 6 things to know

Written by Alia Paavola | March 09, 2018 | Print  |

Over the past 18 months, Amazon has hired more than 20 employees, including software engineers, data analysts and business strategists with years of experience in healthcare or pharmaceutical industries at companies like CVS Health, Express Scripts and UnitedHealth Group, according to STAT.

Here are six things to know.

1. Amazon hired several employees from CVS Health, including Chelsea Doyle, who helped CVS acquire Target pharmacies. Ms. Doyle, who was hired by Amazon in August 2017, serves the e-commerce giant by providing "analysis of key marketing initiatives to support recommendations for entering the pharmacy business," according to STAT.

2. The e-commerce giant also tapped individuals "with years of experience in the prescription drug and healthcare industries" from Express Scripts and United Health Group. The report did not provide more details about these individuals.

3. In addition to hiring individuals from these industry heavyweights, in 2017 Amazon hired: Mark Lyons, a pharmacist who spent 18 years working for Premera Blue Cross, Amazon's insurance arm, to serve as its senior pharmacy benefit manager; Christine Henningsgaard, who previously served at Hometeam, a venture-backed provider of homecare services that uses data analysis to avert hospital readmissions; and Chris Holt, a former executive at Vizient, a healthcare consulting company.

4. While it is unclear how these employees fit into the e-commerce giant's business, industry experts say its push to hire people with drug pricing and buying expertise is evidence that Amazon wants to disrupt the pharmacy business, according to STAT.

5. "My view is that [Amazon is] interested in getting prescription pills to [Prime] members at home," David Larsen, an analyst with healthcare investment bank Leerink, told STAT. "Amazon's whole philosophy is to make life easier for customers and remove the friction points. That starts with the [Prime] member. If the member wants to get a drug, what are the pain points and how do you solve them?"

6. The e-commerce giant's entry into the pharmacy space is likely to unfold gradually as it builds "Basic Care," its exclusive line of over-the-counter products, Mr. Larson told STAT.

Read the full article here.

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