Amazon PillPack founders to leave in latest health care shake-up

Amazon is parting ways with the two founders of the drug prescription startup the company acquired to jump-start its health care ambitions.

TJ Parker, who co-founded PillPack with Elliot Cohen, informed employees that the pair would be leaving Amazon at the end of this month. “You should all be so proud of what we were able to achieve together,” Parker wrote in a note that he also posted on LinkedIn.

Amazon bought the Manchester, New Hampshire-based startup in 2018 for about $753 million, net of cash acquired. Two years later Amazon embedded PillPack deeper into its retail website with the launch of Amazon Pharmacy, a service powered by PillPack’s physical and digital infrastructure.

The founders’ departure is just the latest shake-up in Amazon’s health care operation. A few weeks ago, the company announced its plans to close its Amazon Care telehealth service at the end of the year. The shuttering coincides with the company’s planned acquisition of 1LifeHealthcare, which operates the One Medical brand of primary health care clinics.

PillPack made its name by sorting medications into easy-to-dispense doses, a service that appealed to people juggling multiple drugs for chronic conditions.

The acquisition rattled incumbents in the health care industry, but analysts say Amazon has made only minimal inroads in the massive market for prescription drugs. JD Power estimates the company accounts for about 1.8% of mail-order drug sales in the US.

Parker said he and Cohen would spend time with their families and, later, “return our focus to starting, investing in and advising other health care and consumer-focused businesses.”

In an email to employees, Neil Lindsay, the veteran executive in charge of Amazon’s health care operation, said: “TJ and Elliot have had a significant impact on Amazon and the Health Services organization, and while they will be missed, we’re grateful for their contributions and wish them well on their next endeavors.”

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