How formidable would Amazon be in pharmacy?

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I am a big fan and customer of Amazon, having spent thousands of orders since 1998. I understand why retailers (and other businesses) are shaking in their boots at the thought that Amazon disrupts them. As an insider in healthcare, I also understand why healthcare companies are particularly nervous. Basically, we understand that health care in the United States is terribly wasteful and ineffective and that Amazon could make industry look bad and eat its meal.

Still, I'm not convinced that Amazon will take control of the pharmacy trade, the latest topic of discussion. The Wall Street Journal ( Amazon's push into the pharmacy is full of promises and pitfalls ) has a coin and we are also told that the CVS game for Aetna is a result direct from the Amazon threat.

My own recent experience with Amazon left a bitter taste in my mouth and gave me a glimpse of the difficulty of pharmacy. I do not usually take painkillers, but the last three weeks have been an exception. Since I've been hit by a car while crossing the street, I've been a very good customer for over the counter pain medications. Last Sunday, I noticed that I was missing ibuprofen, and rather than asking family members to do another mission, I used Amazon to pass an agenda.

I pressed the button around 9 o'clock and it was promised that my order would be at my door before 9 o'clock. By noon, the article was "out for delivery" but it had not arrived before 8:30 pm and I was starting to worry a little bit. Nine hours have passed, and Amazon has changed my "delayed" status. Finally, I had to ask my wife to go out to the pharmacy, which fortunately for us is near and open late. I would have had a hard night without my refill.

Finally, Amazon canceled the order and declared that my address was undeliverable – a strange claim for a home that receives Amazon shipments almost daily.

Most of the skepticism regarding Amazon's entry into the pharmacy is focused on new complexities, such as payment by a third party, which are admittedly serious enough. But my own experience shows that Amazon's current infrastructure is not rugged enough for the basics, so I will definitely not be among the first to sign up for AmazonRx.

Of course, Amazon is not the only one with shipping problems, and this experience was an exception to my good habits. Still, it gives me a break.

By a Medical Affairs Consultant David E. Williams President of Health Business Group .

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