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

CNN business

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

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

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

In recent years, Amazon has been gradually growing its footprint in the healthcare sector. It acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018, and later switched to its digital pharmacy, Amazon Pharmacy, in 2019. Earlier this year, Amazon agreed to acquire One Medical, a membership-based primary care service, for $3.9 billion.

These moves come as Amazon expands into every corner of customers’ lives, including grocery stores, video streaming, home devices and more. Some of these efforts have been scrutinized by activists and lawmakers.

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

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