Amazon Clinic Is Latest Sign That U.S. Healthcare Has Failed Us

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket (Getty Images)

You can now treat your cough, cold, and flu with Amazon Clinic, the company’s latest expansion into the healthcare space Wednesday that begs the question: Why is Amazon now my doctor?

The e-commerce giant launched Amazon Clinic last year, a virtual healthcare center allowing customers to speak with a healthcare professional for minor illnesses. The new ”cough, cold and flu” addition will connect users with a telehealth professional who can prescribe medicine through Amazon Pharmacy. Amazon rolled out other healthcare amenities earlier this year such as one-hour drone deliveries for medicine in Texas and $5-a-month drug prescriptions with RxPass.

Amazon Clinic released its latest feature just in time for flu season. Clinicians can now meet virtually with a patient, order them a flu or covid test, and potentially even prescribe Paxlovid or Tamiflu, all without leaving the app you order paper towels from.

Amazon’s venture into the healthcare market is fueled by a need for growth. The goliath of a company, which brought in $514 billion in revenue for 2022, is forced to tackle new markets in order to keep growing at a steady pace. Healthcare is one of the biggest markets out there, estimated to be a $12 trillion global industry.

“By quickly connecting with a provider who understands their condition, customers can explore options for relief and get the care that’s right for them in a matter of minutes or hours,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nworah Ayogu in a press release.

Amazon Clinic does not require insurance or an appointment, and the company says it can treat more than 35 minor illnesses such as pink eye, erectile dysfunction and urinary tract infections, all from the Amazon app. Cough, cold, and flu treatment was added based on a survey of Amazon customers, who wanted more options at a time when covid-19 cases were spiking.

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