Amazon lays off some staff in its Pharmacy business, 6 months after launching a pharmacy subscription plan
Early this year, Amazon rolled out its $5 monthly pharmacy subscription plan for U.S. Prime members that covers a range of generic drugs and their doorstep delivery. At the time of the launch, the e-commerce giant said that the $5 a-month plan will enable members to fill as many prescriptions as they need from a list of about 50 generic meds.
Fast forward six months later, Amazon is now letting go of some of the employees in the same Pharmacy unit, the company also confirmed in a message to CNBC.
In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser told CNBC that a “small number” of staffers in the Amazon Pharmacy division were informed Thursday they were being laid off. The number of laid-off employees is roughly about 80, according to a related report from Semafor, which previously reported the news.
“Like many businesses, we are always improving our processes, for both quality and efficiency and identifying how we can deliver on the best customer experience,” Glasser said. “As a result, we have made the decision to adjust resources and a small number of roles have been eliminated on the Amazon Pharmacy Services team.”
The layoff news comes four months after the retail giant announced in March that it was cutting 9,000 jobs in a second round of layoffs, making it the largest layoffs in its 29-year history.
Last fall and earlier this year, the company underwent a series of layoffs, resulting in 18,000 employees being let go. In March, an additional 9,000 employees were announced to be laid off. Amazon’s CEO, Andy Jassy, has been actively implementing cost-cutting measures throughout the company as they navigate an economic downturn and decelerating revenue growth.
Jassy has specifically focused on reducing investments in certain areas of Amazon’s business that are considered less proven, such as grocery and devices. Additionally, corporate hiring has been put on hold, and warehouse expansion has been slowed down.
The healthcare divisions of Amazon were not exempt from the layoffs that took place earlier this year. Some employees in the company’s pharmacy, digital health tools, and Halo fitness band units were affected by the workforce reductions, as previously reported by CNBC.
Amazon has been trying to establish a presence in the healthcare market for several years. The company launched its own online pharmacy service in 2020, which originated from its acquisition of PillPack in 2018, a 5-year-old startup that provides an online pharmacy offering that helps people take timely medication.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. PillPack was founded in 2013 to help fill, sort, and deliver all your medications in personalized packets based on when you need to take them. Their service helps you take the right meds at the right time, every time. For people who take multiple daily prescriptions, PillPack offers pre-sorted dose packaging, home delivery, and a commitment to customer service.
Amazon also introduced, and later discontinued, a telehealth service known as Amazon Care. In July, they made an announcement about their plans to acquire One Medical, a boutique primary care provider, for $3.9 billion. These moves demonstrate Amazon’s ongoing efforts to make inroads into the healthcare industry.