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Amazon files for Amazon Pharmacy trademark in the UK

Amazon has filed for an"Amazon Pharmacy’” trademark in the UK, Canada and Australia
Amazon has filed for an"Amazon Pharmacy’” trademark in the UK, Canada and Australia

Retail giant Amazon has filed a trademark for the name “Amazon Pharmacy” in the UK, Canada and Australia.

The trademark – the application for which was submitted on January 9 this year, according to reports by US media outlet CNBC – is listed as under “examination” by the UK Intellectual Property Office.

The CNBC report stated that Amazon Pharmacy could start dispensing pharmaceutical prescriptions and also move into the medical and dental instruments and surgical markets.

The news follows an announcement in 2018 that Amazon had acquired US online pharmacy business PillPack.

Following the revelation regarding the Amazon Pharmacy trademark application, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) stressed the crucial role played by bricks-and-mortar pharmacies, urging patients not to rely solely on online outlets.

RPS president Sandra Gidley said: “While the public are increasingly buying online, it is vitally important to note that medicines are not normal consumer items. There is real importance and value in the face-to-face interaction between patients and a pharmacist and this must not be lost.

“Each interaction is an opportunity to make a health intervention and to ensure people have no issues with their medicines and are taking them safely.”

Ms Gidley added that the public should keep supporting their local pharmacies. “Pharmacists see patients when they are well and also spot signs of deteriorating health. I would urge patients to continue to support their community pharmacy so that the service is still there when they need it,” she said.

“Community pharmacy does and will continue to play a vital role within our NHS and we will continue to press for better use to be made of the community pharmacy workforce.”

Gareth Jones, head of corporate affairs at the National Pharmacy Association, said: “Patient safety is the top priority for pharmacists and medicines are not ordinary items of commerce, so pass through a highly regulated supply chain.  Amazon would have to significantly upgrade its delivery network to deliver medicines and handle things like fridge items and controlled drugs.

“An increasing number of people find it convenient to order their medication online but at the same time, people value the face-to-face care available in local pharmacies, close to where they live, work and shop.”

Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the general pharmaceutical council, told C+D: “All pharmacies that want to operate in Great Britain, including online pharmacies, have to demonstrate how they will meet our standards before they can join our register.

“Online pharmacy owners are also expected to follow our guidance on providing pharmacy services at a distance, including on the internet, to make sure patients and the public receive safe and effective care.

“This guidance states clearly that selling and supplying medicines at a distance brings different risks which need to be appropriately managed. Medicines are not ordinary items of commerce, and the guidance sets out what pharmacy owners have to do to protect patient safety”.

 
14 Comments
Question: 
Are you concerned about this announcement?

Greatly Pedantic Highly Clueless, Senior Management

It was Bezos that said "your margin is my opportunity." Given the current pharmacy contract he'd be better off with Amazon Coffee or Amazon Hairdressing.

It will be fun to see the GPhC/PSNC dealing with Amazon. I would stock up on popcorn (delivered with my fentanyl patches and oxycodone via Amazon Prime). 

 

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

GPhC would simply become Amazon doormats. All to protect the public of course.

Medicine Master, Primary care pharmacist

Of all the threats faced by Community Pharmacy, this is the granddaddy of them all.

Given Bezos business model and depth of funds at their disposal, there is a tsunami heading CP's way.

The most interesting decision will be whether they start from scratch or they buy an already established player.

Leveraging Amazon Prime (8 million members?) everybody should be scared

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

Yes, because everything was fine before this article was written.

Meera Sharma, Primary care pharmacist

In this day & age where everyone expects things to drop through their letterbox and there is no relief for brick-mortar shops, why would patients care?? The BBC documentary already highlighted that patients don't like collecting their medicines from pharmacies. Create a space, and an innovator will always fill it! It will be interesting to see how they fare with the NHS - watch thsi space!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

To be fair, I don't like going into a Pharmacy to buy medicine either. It's the one thing where I have to physically go into a store.

A B, Community pharmacist

"I'm not sure how the British public would feel about nhs services being delivered through US companies"

Boots is a US company subsidiary so it already happens. Like you say, no one is particularly bothered, especially the younger generation.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I can confirm that we younger (don't know if I can call myself that anymore) generation do indeed love Amazon. Delivery to the student dorms on a daily basis is definitely a testament to that.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It might be taking an initiative and getting the foot in the door before the current chains are able to perfect the process which is still rough around the edges for many of the big chains; they are all suffering from teething problems when it comes to the logistic sides of things.

However, we could argue that Amazon has a significant advantage when it comes to logistics at least. Next-day delivery will be the standard, and that's a scary prospect for a lot of companies.

As for clinical expertise, I suspect this will be the biggest challenge; then again, build a reputation of paying Pharmacists a decent wage compared to the Big Three, and that becomes very enticing.

Either way, I believe Amazon is going to be a serious contender to the online pharmaceutical marketplace and to ignore them would be very foolhardy indeed!

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

This does not mean they are coming into the UK market. The only reason it works in the U.S is that they have a drugs budget of $200bn compared to £2bn.

 

That said there is nothing to stop them from entering the UK market and disrupting but not making a profit (which won't hurt them).

I'm not sure how the British public would feel about nhs services being delivered through US companies but I doubt they would give a monkeys as long as convenience through laziness prevails

anti-depressed Pharmacist, Manager

They might make a short term loss to get more people to sign up to amazon prime, same day delivery of your food, drugs and cousumer goods is a great offer.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Not to mention TV shows, Amazon have a lot of cards to play. And sometimes it's a case of looking at the bigger picture.

Olukunmi Popoola, Community pharmacist

Enjoy free TV shows if we deliver your medicines!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It's more enticing than I think some people realise! 

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