USA — Amazon has launched Amazon Clinic, a message-based online healthcare service that offers treatments for over 20 common health conditions including allergies, dandruff, hair loss, birth control, erectile dysfunction, and acne.

Customers must first select the condition for which they need treatment and then select a preferred provider from a list of licensed telehealth providers.

Customers can connect with clinicians for a consultation after completing an intake questionnaire via a secure message-based portal.

The portal will then provide a personalized treatment plan as well as any necessary prescriptions, which can be filled at any pharmacy of the customer’s choice, including Amazon Pharmacy.

Consultations will include up to two weeks of ongoing follow-up messages between customers and clinicians, and prices will be disclosed in advance.

These prices are set by the telehealth providers, though Amazon claims that “in many cases, the cost of care is equivalent or less than the average copay.”

Amazon Clinic does not currently accept insurance, but customers may be able to use their insurance for medications prescribed through Amazon Clinic.

The service provides birth control as well as treatment for common conditions such as erectile dysfunction, UTIs, sinusitis, and yeast infections.

The Clinic also offers additional treatments for pre-diagnosed conditions such as eczema and genital herpes, as well as the ability to renew existing medication prescriptions for migraines, asthma, and high blood pressure.

Many startups, including Ro, Hims & Hers, and Thirty Madison, provide similar virtual care services for birth control and the treatment of conditions such as hair loss, skin conditions, and sexual health.

Amazon’s expansion into direct-to-consumer healthcare services will almost certainly put pressure on other digital health players.

The launch of Clinic follows Amazon’s July deal to buy the primary healthcare provider One Medical for US$3.9 billion, which the company acquired to expand its footprint in the healthcare industry.

Meanwhile, in September, the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission requested further information on Amazon’s proposed acquisition of One Medical.

Amazon Pharmacy was also launched in 2020 after the company acquired the prescription-by-mail service PillPack in 2018 for US$753 million.

Amazon Clinic will launch in 32 states across the United States, with plans to expand in the coming months.

This is not Amazon’s first foray into virtual healthcare. Amazon Care was launched in 2019 to provide video telehealth and in-home doctor visits to its own employees, and it was later expanded to a nationwide service in February.

However, Amazon Care has met an untimely demise and will be phased out by the end of the year.

Treating common conditions at home with virtual healthcare services provided by Amazon and others could reduce the demand for traditional in-person healthcare services, resulting in shorter wait times to diagnose and treat other, more serious ailments.

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