An Amazon exec said ‘competition is a good thing’ as the company pushes into the health space

Babak Parviz
Babak Parviz

  • Amazon’s VP overseeing some healthcare efforts said he welcomes competition in the sector.
  • The e-commerce and cloud giant has major ambitions in the healthcare space.
  • The comments come as Amazon faces antitrust scrutiny.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Amazon’s vice president overseeing some of its healthcare efforts said the tech giant belongs in the health space, as every sector needs competition from large, medium, and small-sized companies.

Babak Parviz, vice president at Amazon who was also credited with creating Google Glass, said at the Wall Street Journal Tech Health conference that the company is pushing into the health space to improve the US health system using the company’s expertise.

Parviz added that Amazon is being respectful of larger players and health systems established in the space, though he does not want to see only a handful of dominant players.

“What we don’t want to see is a handful of big entities, big companies, big healthcare systems dominating a sector,” Parviz said at the conference. “So a healthy sector will have large companies, many mid-sized companies, and many, many startup companies.”

Read more: Amazon loses another high-profile executive who was hired to lead its cloud apps and open source efforts just two years ago

Parviz’s comments come weeks after Washington, DC, Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit accusing Amazon of stifling competition for third-party sellers on its marketplace. The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating whether Amazon violated antitrust laws by collecting third-party seller data to create or favor their own similar products.

The e-commerce giant launched Amazon Care, an online and in-person primary care service for employees, in 2019. Amazon intends to sell the service to businesses, Insider first reported, which Parviz confirmed during the WSJ conference by saying he will announce the multiple companies that elected to use Amazon Care “in the coming months.”

Other tech behemoths, including Google and Microsoft, have released products targeted at clinicians and health systems over the last several years.

Parviz said Amazon welcomes the competition from “many other contributors” within healthcare.

“I think competition is a good thing, I hope to to see more and more of it in any sector,” he said.

Amazon was not immediately available for additional comment.

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Teladoc drops on report that Amazon is building a business to offer primary care for other companies

FILE PHOTO: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos laughs as he talks to the media while touring the new Amazon Spheres during the grand opening at Amazon's Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018.   REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

  • Teladoc fell 6% on Wednesday following a Business Insider report that Amazon is quietly building a business to offer primary healthcare services for other large employers.
  • As an extension of Amazon Care, the service would offer in-person and online doctor visits that can be scheduled through a mobile app, according to the report.
  • Shares of health insurance stocks also fell, with UnitedHealth Group and Cigna dropping as much as 2%.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Shares of Teladoc and health insurance providers fell on Tuesday following a report from Business Insider that Amazon is quietly building a healthcare service that will be offered to employee of other large companies.

As an extension of Amazon Care, the service would offer in-person and online doctor visits that can be scheduled through a mobile app, according to the report. The service would bypass health insurance plans and brokers, potentially helping lower the cost of healthcare.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Business Insider reports that Amazon has already pitched the service to Zillow, though its unclear how many other companies were pitched the service offering. 

Zillow confirmed that it was pitched the Amazon Care service but that nothing came of it, according to the report. 

Read more: Amazon is going deeper into the prescription-drug business. Here are the 7 ways the tech giant is taking on healthcare, and why 2 analysts think doctor visits are next.

Amazon’s push into healthcare services has been years in the making, most recently marked by the e-commerce giant’s launch of an online pharmacy. That move sent pharmacy stocks like CVS and Walgreens down substantially.

A similar move played out on Wednesday in shares of Teladoc, which helps facilitate virtual doctor visits for patients via video-calls. Shares of Teladoc fell as much as 6% in Wednesday trades.

Health insurance stocks also fell on Wednesday following the report, with shares of both UnitedHealth Group and Cigna down as much as 2%. Shares of Amazon traded up nearly 1% in Wednesday trades.

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