One Medical is a membership-based primary care service that promises customers “24/7 access to virtual care.” The company operates in a dozen major U.S. markets, according to its website, and works with more than 8,000 companies to offer One Medical health benefits to their employees.
In a statement Thursday announcing the acquisition, Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services, said the e-commerce giant believes “healthcare is high on the list of experiences in need of reinvention.” Lindsay added that Amazon hopes to be one of the companies “that helps dramatically improve the healthcare experience over the next few years.”
In recent years, Amazon has expanded its empire from online shopping to entertainment, groceries and more, increasing its enormous reach into consumers’ lives. The One Medical acquisition would be one of the largest in Amazon’s history. Amazon agreed to buy grocery chain Whole Foods in 2017 for $13.7 billion and earlier this year closed an $8.5 billion deal to buy iconic Hollywood movie studio MGM.
With the One Medical deal, Amazon will gain access to brick-and-mortar health clinics and “payer-hospital system relationships,” Evercore ISI analyst Elizabeth Anderson said in a note Thursday morning.
The agreement is subject to approval from One Medical’s shareholders and regulators.
While Anderson argued that there is minimal antitrust risk given Amazon’s limited healthcare footprint, some critics of the tech industry were quick to raise concerns about the deal and the data the company could access.
“Amazon having backdoor access to private healthcare is frankly a terrifying thought and highlights how desperately Congress needs to pass antitrust reform to prevent these tech giants from abusing monopoly power,” Sacha Haworth, executive director of the Tech Oversight Project advocacy group, told CNN Business in a statement.