The world’s largest online marketplace is on the verge of expanding its horizons by purchasing primary healthcare company OneMedical.

Amazon Health Services senior vice-president Neil Lindsay announced last July 21st, stating that Amazon is set to acquire the healthcare provider through a $3.9 billion all-cash deal.

According to Lindsay, the impending acquisition is in line with the company’s view that healthcare is a human experience that needs to be reinvented to suit the changing times. That said, Amazon Health Services hopes to be at the forefront of such reinvention over the next few years.

Amazon’s acquisition of OneMedical is set to be one of its biggest purchases ever, following the $8.5 billion purchase of legendary film studio Metro Goldwyn Meyer earlier this year and its purchase of the Whole Foods grocery chain in 2017 at the cost of $13.7 billion. 

All these initiatives have helped the company expand its scope of operations beyond the digital marketplace, encompassing entertainment and grocery shopping among other things,

Ongoing Expansion

The acquisition of OneMedical is just the latest in Amazon’s push to bolster its presence in the global healthcare sector. Back in 2018, the ecommerce giant bought the online pharmacy PillPack which led to the start of its web pharmacy service in the United States.

The impending acquisition is seen as a timely one, as there has been an increased demand for online healthcare provision thanks to the ongoing pandemic and the subsequent growth of the telehealth sector.

Antitrust Issues

However, not everyone is happy about the coming changes.

One such skeptic is Nicholas Economides of New York University’s Stern School of Business. The professor of economics believes that the deal may trigger a good deal of scrutiny as Amazon may be accused of violating antitrust laws. 

Economides compared the purchase of OneMedical to the acquisition of Whole Foods. In 2017, Amazon only had a meager market share in the grocery sector; its current situation in the healthcare sector is similar. Nevertheless, antitrust regulators are expected to look closely at the impending merger as the Amazon / OneMedical deal could eliminate another player from the same sector.

Economides added that the grounds for intervention are weaker here than they were in the case of Whole Foods and that there may be little to worry about where Amazon is concerned as it currently isn’t all that active in the healthcare sector.