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Amazon launches message-based virtual clinic for allergies, acne and hair loss

<i>Adobe Stock</i><br/>Amazon on Tuesday launched a virtual clinic to treat common health conditions.
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Adobe Stock
Amazon on Tuesday launched a virtual clinic to treat common health conditions.

By Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business

Amazon on Tuesday launched a virtual clinic to treat common health conditions, including allergies, acne and hair loss, in the latest move by the e-commerce giant to expand its reach into the health care industry.

The service, called Amazon Clinic, is a “message-based virtual care” option that is intended to connect “customers with affordable virtual care options when and how they need it,” Dr. Nworah Ayogu, the chief medical officer and general manager of the new service, said in a blog post.

Amazon Clinic offers treatments for more than 20 common health conditions and is initially available in 32 states, with hopes to expand to additional states in the coming months, Ayogu added.

In recent years, Amazon has gradually been growing its footprint in the health care sector. It acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018, which it later rebranded to PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy, in 2019. It then launched its own Amazon Pharmacy in 2020. Earlier this year, Amazon agreed to acquire One Medical, a membership-based primary care service, for $3.9 billion.

These moves come as Amazon broadens its reach into every corner of customers’ lives, including grocery stores, video streaming, home devices and more. Some of these efforts have come under scrutiny from activists and lawmakers.

To use Amazon Clinic, Ayogu said customers simply select their condition, “then choose their preferred provider from a list of licensed and qualified telehealth providers.” From there, customers complete a questionnaire and will be connected to doctors through a message-based portal. After an initial chat, the medical professional will send a treatment plan and any necessary prescriptions to the user’s preferred pharmacy.

Amazon Clinic does not accept insurance at this time, but it is FSA and HSA eligible. The company said customers will be able to see how much a consultation will cost when they set out to seek treatment. The prices are set by the providers, not Amazon Clinic, Ayogu’s blog post added, and in many cases, “the cost of care is equivalent or less than the average copay.”

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