Did Amazon Just Create a Solution to Pharma’s Last Mile Problem?

Oct 31, 2017

Amazon just announced a new program that would allow delivery people into a person’s house.

While this may help solve the problem of items being stolen off people’s porches and could make delivery of items that require signatures—such as iPhones— easier, it may also be another piece to Amazon’s pharma puzzle.

As reported in the September 2017 issue of Pharmaceutical Executive, the pharmaceutical industry is at a critical crossroads when it comes to cold chain storage and temperature sensitive items. With more treatment plans including a biologic component, concerns over temperature sensitivity has become paramount.

One issue that comes up frequently when talking about temperature sensitivity as it relates to pharma is the last mile. The last mile can create a number of challenges for companies that include keeping the product at the appropriate temperature not just during the delivery process, but also when it is handed over to the patient—whether in an office or by delivery.

If Amazon’s service, which reportedly costs $249.99, and includes an Amazon security camera, the Cloud Cam, and a compatible smart lock, evolves into giving the delivery person access to the customer’s refrigerator, it could help solve that last mile problem.

Think about this scenario: A patient is at work all day, but is also on a temperature sensitive therapy. Instead of taking a day off from their job, and waiting around for a package all day, the delivery person can literally deliver it right to their refrigerator. This scenario could also apply to people with limited mobility, dexterity, or early onset dementia, who may forget to put the item in the refrigerator within the appropriate amount of time.

It’s not just high-priced biologics where this could be beneficial. Nutraceuticals, such as probiotics, could also benefit from this. A retailer known for a wide-variety of nutraceuticals? Whole Foods, which Amazon recently purchased. 

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