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Amazon enters primary care field by closing $3.9B deal to buy One Medical


Seeing a physician to be ‘easier, faster, more personal, and more convenient,’ CEO says.

Promising a revolution in primary care, online giant Amazon announced it has completed its $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical.

The companies are celebrating with a discounted membership price of $144 for new customers for the first year, according to an announcement published Feb. 22 by Amazon and online information by One Medical. That company has offices in 19 major markets across the United States, and 24/7 access to virtual care, with health care benefits offered to more than 8,500 companies.

In a published announcement, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in a decade, “people are not going to believe how primary care was administered.” He described the process of calling physicians’ offices for appointments three or four weeks out, traveling to clinics, waiting for brief meetings with doctors, then driving to a pharmacy for medication.

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

One Medical’s mission is to make it dramatically easier for people to find and afford services, products, and health care professionals, Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services, said in the news release.

“One Medical has set the bar for what a quality, convenient, and affordable primary care experience should be like,” Lindsay said. “We’re inspired by their human-centered, technology-forward approach and excited to help them continue to grow and serve more patients.”

Government involved?

The announcement follows months of wondering whether government regulators might intervene in a possible deal.

In July last year, the online marketplace announced it would acquire the health care company, which maintains headquarters in San Francisco and New York.

In September, One Medical’s parent company, 1Live Healthcare Inc., announced it and Amazon “each received a request for additional information and documentary materials” from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about the merger. The companies called it the next step in the regulatory review process, and business observers speculated about the FTC mounting a legal challenge to the merger. FTC Chair Lina Khan, JD, is the author of “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” a critical inquiry about “facets of Amazon’s power” and the company’s effects on business competitiveness and consumers.

As recently as this month, news media reports stated the FTC was considering a lawsuit to block the merger.

“The FTC's investigation of Amazon's acquisition of One Medical continues,” an FTC spokesman said in a statement shared with Medical Economics. “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."

Amazon last year also announced the end of Amazon Care, its primary care health service. But Lindsay did not mention One Medical in that decision and noted the health care business sector is “ripe for reinvention.”

Typical primary care?

Amazon’s announcement included a list of frequently asked questions, including: “How does One Medical differ from a typical primary care or urgent care practice?”

They described around-the-clock access to primary care through the One Medical app, 24/7 video chats and easy in-app messaging, same-day and next-day in-office visits and availability where people work, live, and shop. One Medical will have pediatricians and family care providers in a growing number of locations, and “highly engaged clinicians focused on meeting the whole needs of people.”

“One Medical 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,” One Medical CEO Amir Dan Rubin, said in the announcement. “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.”

Amazon Prime members are not automatically enrolled in One Medical. The companies are cutting the $199 annual subscription fee to $144 for new U.S. customers.

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