Amazon continues to expand into more and more areas of everyday life in this country. Recently, Amazon has made significant moves into the health care sector. Specifically, the company has started partnering with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to create a more streamlined and efficient method of providing health care to the company’s over 12 million employees.
In addition, Amazon also purchased PillPack in 2018. PillPack is an online startup company that specializes in mailing people’s prescriptions. The startup organizes, packages, and delivers medications to its customers. The medications come prepackaged together depending on when the client is supposed to take the medications. Significantly, PillPack owns the licenses to sell medications in 49 states, a necessity for any company trying to create a pharmaceutical business.
Amazon’s buyout of PillPack led many to speculate that Amazon is in the process of creating its own pharmacy. This speculation was backed up when Amazon started selling health care supplies on its B2B site, Amazon Business. Amazon Business reported an incredible $10 billion in sales in 2018.
Part of Amazon’s thinking has to do with the incredibly easy and simple-to-use interface it developed. As of 2019, the company had over 100 million Prime members. Moreover, the company ranks as the 6th largest industrial distributor in the U.S., and boats at having 49% of all U.S. online sales.
So, the combination of an efficient interface and the fact that millions have some familiarity with it means that Amazon could become a substantial player in the pharmaceutical industry.
Meanwhile politicians continue to fail in their promises to lower drug prices and other costs associated with the healthcare industry. Moreover, the current healthcare industry has flat out failed to keep up with public expectations and is often criticized as a whole as being unresponsive.
With the acquisition of PillPack, Amazon will soon be able to effectively operate an online pharmacy, specifically for high-cost medications for chronically ill clients. Amazon will also be able to sell to self-pay pharmaceutical customers. These types of customers actually account for 6% of the population in the U.S., making up an incredible $450 billion market.
There are also rumors that Amazon is trying to set up their famous Alexa to be an at-home medical diagnosis and care product. Alexa can already give advice on medical issues such as minor first aid procedures and methods of breastfeeding. Amazon, however, thinks that Alexa has far more potential, and can be a great asset for a number of medical issues, such as Diabetes maintenance.
According to several experts, Alexa has the potential to be an extremely valuable tool in the healthcare industry. For example, Alexa could book doctor appointments or even get a virtual doctor that could ask you about your symptoms.
The point of all of this would be to create a closed-loop system in which Amazon provides a person’s medical needs through its virtual healthcare, diagnostic testing, and pharmacy departments. The effect would allow a person to stay at home and have fewer patients at the doctors’ offices. The possibilities are endless.
Amazon/PillPack Medication Errors
Unfortunately, while the possibilities may be endless, so too are the liabilities. Specifically, the risk of Amazon creating a medication error would be very high.
Each year in the U.S., approximately 1.5 million people are injured due to medication errors, resulting in at least one person dying each and every day. These medication errors can include patients being given the wrong medications for their prescriptions or are given the wrong dosage.
These errors can be made at any point on the medication-supply chain. An error could be made in prescribing you the wrong medication, or in the packaging the medication, the labeling of the dosage, or the delivering of the medication.
The reason for the medication errors are endless. It can be poor communication between the patient and doctor, poor handwriting by the doctor, or incorrect medical abbreviations or medication names.
The American Hospital Association cited several of the most common types of medication errors. The AHA cited incomplete patient data as a highly common reason for medication errors. This included not knowing about patients’ allergies or the other medications that the patient was taking.
The AHA also cited miscommunication as a significant factor. This can include nurses or pharmacists not being able to properly read the doctor’s handwriting or confusion over the dosage.
The Institute of Medicine reported that labeling and packaging issues accounted for approximately 33% of all medication errors. This miscommunication can be the result of a doctor’s poor handwriting or bottles and vials being mixed up due to them looking alike. For example, the packaging for insulin and a popular blood thinner, heparin, look similar and alike and are often confused.
Labeling and packaging issues could be a tremendous risk for Amazon. Remember that PillPack combines a person’s prescription in a package that lists medications along with the required dosage and time it should be taken. If an employee is negligent and misprints each package, that could result in serious harm.
Nearly 25% of all medication errors were due to some confusion over medications having similar sounding names. This has created some people saying doctors should be cautious when handing out free samples.
These medication errors are caused by negligence, pure and simple. If you have been injured due to a medication error, then you may be entitled to fair compensation through the legal system. If you have lost a loved one due to a medication error, then you may be able to pursue a wrongful death suit.
Such errors can be the result of the actions or inaction of one or multiple parties, depending on the cause of the error. You need the best medication mistake lawyer you can find to help your case.
Florida Medication Error Law Firm
At Wolfson & Leon, our Florida medication mistake attorneys have fought for victims injured by negligent people and companies since 1963. We are prepared to represent you for your injuries and damages against any medication provider in Florida including but not limited to Amazon, PillPack, CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Costco Pharmacy or any other pharmacy.
If you received medication in error and have questions, we encourage you to call us at 305-285-1115 for your free consultation. We will answer your questions and provide you with your options to pursue the compensation that you deserve. We have offices in Fort Myers, Miami, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. We are standing by to help so call us now.