On Monday, Maulik Majmudar, a cardiologist and assistant professor at Harvard, announced over Twitter he’d soon be joining the ranks of Amazon. While the hire might seem like a bit of an odd move for a company traditionally associated with sending you a constant stream of products in a disturbingly quick amount of time, it isn’t. Amazon has long had its eye on the bloated and notoriously inefficient healthcare industry, and had made a lot of moves over the last year suggesting it wants in on the profits.
The company has made a number of high-profile healthcare hires, adding Medicare expert Martin Levine, former FDA chief health informatics officer Taha Kass-Hout, and health-tech expert Missy Krasner to its ranks.
Amazon hasn’t formally declared any medical ambitions, but a CNBC report from last July uncovered a secretive team dubbed “1492” dedicated to exploring opportunities in electronic medical records, telemedicine, and health applications for Amazon’s smart assistants. The company has also been aggressively pursuing cloud storage contracts with hospitals and medical vendors.
In January, Amazon partnered with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Health to create an independent company to provide high quality healthcare to their employees for less. Though there have been few details released about the seemingly too-good-to-be-true company (like it’s name or concrete ambitions) since its announcement, a press release described the venture as being “free from profit-making incentives and constraints” and focused on finding solutions through cutting edge tech.
“The healthcare system is complex, and we enter into this challenge open-eyed about the degree of difficulty,” said Jeff Bezos in a statement about the partnership. “Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort. Success is going to require talented experts, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation.”
Most recently, Amazon announced its purchase of online pharmacy powerhouse PillPack, a popular startup that’s ability to efficiently ship medication directly to customers’ doors has left Big Pharma more than a little worried. The price? A cool $1 billion. Cash.