Less than a week after reports circulated that Walmart was in preliminary talks to acquire health insurance company Humana, the retail giant is making progress toward possibly buying another health care company. Walmart is in talks to acquire PillPack, an online pharmacy startup, for “under $1 billion,” according to CNBC.
The deal could still fall apart, but discussions between the two companies have been ongoing for months, the report said.
While a Humana deal would likely drive more members into Walmart pharmacies and help the retailer gain deeper membership data, the PillPack deal would help boost the retailer’s online traffic. Walmart has been on an e-Commerce tear ever since acquiring Jet.com in 2016 for $3.3 billion. The retailer plans to unveil a new web site, including a new home destination, as it pushes to provide a more upscale online destination for fashion and apparel. It’s clear that e-Commerce will be important for every category within Walmart — including pharmacy.
PillPack also would complement Humana well in that both companies are looking for ways to serve vulnerable seniors with one or more medical conditions. Humana is the second-largest provider of the Medicare plans known as Medicare Advantage, while PillPack manages prescription medications, many of which are fore patients with multiple chronic conditions. Having both companies under its belt would enable Walmart to further cater to this growing demographic, while staving off competition from a rapidlyconsolidatingretail-pharmacy industry.
PillPack has raised $118 million in venture funding, according to its web site. The company is designed to serve people who manage multiple medications, pre-sorting individual doses of medications into time-stamped packets and shipping them monthly. Customers also receive a convenient dispenser along with any other medications that cannot be placed into packets, such as liquids and inhalers. Each shipment includes a medication label that has a picture of each pill and notes on how it should be taken.
In 2017, the online pharmacy generated revenue of more than $100 million and unveiled a prescription management software, PharmacyOS, a backend pharmacy system designed specifically for customers with complex medication regimes. The software helps coordinate refills, ensures on-time shipments and provides an online dashboard for patients.