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Amazon completes $3.9B purchase of One Medical, offers discounted subscription

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The online retailer says annual subscriptions to the primary care organization will cost $144, or $12 per month. Regulators won’t sue to block the deal but say their investigation continues.

For Amazon, primary care is of prime interest.

Amazon said Wednesday it has completed its $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical, an organization which offers primary care and virtual care. Patients pay a membership fee allowing them access to in-person care and 24/7 access to telehealth services.

The online retailer also announced that for a limited time, One Medical’s annual memberships would be offered for $144, or $12 per month, down from the regular price of $199 annually. Amazon said the temporary discounted rates would be available to everyone, even those who don’t have Amazon Prime subscriptions.

One Medical operates more than 200 medical offices around the country.

The Federal Trade Commission had been applying some scrutiny to the acquisition, but the deadline has passed for the FTC to block the deal, CNBC reports. Regulators had asked for more information about the transaction in securities filings, CNBC reported.

FTC spokesman Peter Kaplan said regulators aren’t going to sue to block the merger, but said the investigation of the deal continues, the Associated Press reported.

“The commission will continue to look at possible harms to competition created by this merger as well as possible harms to consumers that may result from Amazon’s control and use of sensitive consumer health information held by One Medical,” Kaplan said in a statement.

The FTC has been taking a closer look at mergers in healthcare, including hospital mergers and acquisitions, and says it aims to preserve competition to ensure better prices and services for consumers.

Amazon has been moving into the healthcare field for some time. Amazon also recently announced a subscription plan offering common prescription drugs for $5 per month. But with the purchase of One Medical, Amazon joins other retailers as they aim to acquire primary care practices.

Healthcare industry analysts say retailers see value in primary care and can offer legitimate competition to traditional healthcare organizations, at least in terms of convenience and customer service.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy touted the purchase of One Medical as a step toward transforming primary care.

“If you fast forward 10 years from now, people are not going to believe how primary care was administered,” Jassy said in a statement. He talked about the hassles of waiting weeks for an appointment, driving to the doctor, waiting in reception and then briefly seeing the doctor before having to drive to the pharmacy or a specialist.

“Customers want and deserve better, and that’s what One Medical has been working and innovating on for more than a decade. Together, we believe we can make the health care experience easier, faster, more personal, and more convenient for everyone,” Jassy said.

CVS Health announced earlier this month that it is buying Oak Street Health in a $10.6 billion deal. Last September, CVS announced it was buying Signify Health, with a network of doctors delivering care to patients at home, in an $8 billion transaction.

VillageMD, backed by Walgreens Boots Alliance, purchased Summit Health-CityMD in a $8.9 billion deal in October. Walmart has teamed with UnitedHealth Group to open 15 Walmart Health locations in Florida and Georgia.

Anu Singh, a managing director at Kaufman Hall, told Chief Healthcare Executive in a January interview that retailers can be “a credible competitor to entry-level primary care. I think that's without a doubt.”

Singh also said retailers may provide competition to health systems, but they could also offer opportunities for collaboration.

Amir Dan Rubin, CEO of One Medical, said in a statement his organization “has been on a mission to help transform health care through its human-centered and technology-powered model to delight people with better health, better care, and better value, within a better team environment."

“We now set our sights on delivering even further positive impacts for consumers, employers, care teams, and health networks, as we join Amazon with its long-term orientation, history of invention, and passion for reimagining a better future,” he said.


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