Not all are hits on Amazon. The firm created by Jeff Bezos has decided to close its telehealth service called Amazon Care, since it was not the expected solution that they intended to provide to their clients, according to Dave Lee and James Fontanella-Khan in the Financial Times.
A memo sent to Amazon Care staff on Wednesday by Neil Lindsay, director of Amazon Health Services, said that Amazon Care, which promised a doctor, nurse or other health professional on demand, 24 hours a day, was not the “long-term solution” suitable for external companies to which it was expected to sell the service.
“This decision was not made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” Lindsay wrote, according to the memo seen by the Financial Times.
“While our enrolled members loved many aspects of Amazon Care, it’s not a comprehensive enough offering for the large enterprise customers we’ve targeted,” Lindsay said.
Analysts said the closure of Amazon Care, due at the end of the year, should not be seen as a setback in its efforts to gain a foothold in the $4 trillion US health care sector. “This is not a sign of failure by any means,” said Natalie Schibell of Forrester Research. “It’s a strategic move.”
The acquisition of One Medical
Amazon’s move comes after its recent deal to acquire One Medical, a large network of primary care providers, for $3.9 billion, its largest healthcare deal.
“That acquisition, if approved by regulators, would give Amazon much of the access to corporate employees that it had been seeking with Amazon Care,” said Christina Farr, a healthcare technology investor at Omers Ventures, which would make the acquisition internal platform was redundant. Companies like Google offer One Medical to employees.
“One Medical already has all these contracts and offers telemedicine,” Farr noted. “It made sense for Amazon to acquire an existing network. Hiring doctors is very difficult, building insurance contracts is very difficult, building relationships with employers is very difficult. All of those things take a long time and One Medical was available for purchase.”
With a workforce of more than 1.5 million, more than 200 million Prime subscribers worldwide, and an expansive cloud computing and logistics infrastructure, Amazon has long been seen as ideally positioned to take on some of healthcare industry incumbents, whose share prices fall, albeit briefly, whenever the company announces deals.
Amazon’s ambitions in health care have been years in the making and will intensify under the leadership of Andy Jassy, who replaced Jeff Bezos as chief executive last year.
Amazon is also among the bidders for Signify Health, a provider of home health care, which is looking at various offers. The decision to explore a deal, which would be Amazon’s fourth major healthcare deal in recent years, underscores the company’s willingness to test the appetite of antitrust regulators to scale back its M&A strategy.
“They’re calling Lina Khan’s bluff,” said a seasoned investor who is following Signify’s offering, referring to the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and a critic of Amazon’s market power.
Another lawyer said that Amazon was demonstrating its willingness to go to court with regulators if necessary.
“Amazon’s health care business is small compared to others in the US,” said an antitrust attorney who asked not to be identified for reasons of client confidentiality. “At the moment, any acquisition that is not a mega player in the space will not be blocked.”
One person who has worked with Amazon said she is prepared to handle media and political backlash, but was confident that a transaction to buy Signify would win regulatory approval.
“They are happy to go to court,” the person added. “They know they can win, so they don’t let the antitrust rhetoric in DC stop them from considering buying an asset.”
An FTC spokesman declined to comment on Amazon’s health deals, but pointed to comments made by Khan at a forum earlier this year that the “life and death” health industry was “one of the most reviews” for his agency to review.
The $5 billion acquisition of home health care provider LHC Group by UnitedHealth, a large insurer, has been delayed as the FTC seeks more information on the proposed deal.
“Ultimately, Amazon’s M&A activity is aimed at assembling the building blocks for a great health service that offers value-based care,” said Rebecca Springer, senior analyst covering health care at PitchBook. describes a business model in which health providers earn revenue based on patient outcomes (how well the patient is doing) rather than simply providing treatments.
Amazon is trading at $136 and the 200 period moving average is above the latest candles. Meanwhile, the Ei indicators are mixed.