Amazon Buys Pillpack for $1 Billion


TJ Parker founded the company after winning MIT's Hacking Medicine competition.

Amazon has purchased Pillpack, a Boston-based start-up founded by Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program alumnus TJ Parker, for just under $1 billion.

"We’re thrilled to share that @amazon has agreed to acquire PillPack. Together, we will continue making it easy for customers to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier. We’re excited for our future together," the company said on Twitter.

Pillpack personalizes shipments of medications by sorting prescriptions by dose and delivering them straight to the home.

The inspiration for the innovative medication management system came from Parker's own experience. A second generation pharmacist, Parker worked with his father, Leon Parker BSP '79, at his drug store in Concord, New Hampshire as a teenager. He delivered medications to people's homes and quickly realized how many patients struggle to manage multiple prescriptions, all with different bottles, instructions, and labels. He even used magic markers to label the bottles for one patient.

He went on to attend MCPHS and earn his Doctor of Pharmacy. "I started pharmacy school with the vague sense that there was a lot of opportunity to deliver a better experience," said Parker in an interview with MCPHS.

Parker founded Pillpack with the goal of simplifying the end-to-end process of managing medications. "We believe that simple, convenient service empowers regular people to take their medications correctly and achieve better overall health," he said in the interview.

Today, PillPack is licensed to ship prescriptions in 50 states and likely booked more than $100 million in revenue last year.

The acquisition of Pillpack by Amazon comes at a time when the industry is undergoing drastic change, and represents a big move by Amazon to enter - and disrupt - the pharmacy business. In fact, shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS Health and Rite Aid plunged after the initial deal by Amazon was announced, while Amazon's stocks rose nearly 2.5 percent, adding more than $19.8 billion in market value.