Amazon taps former Prime executive to oversee virtual care, pharmacy and diagnostics businesses

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to accurately report that Pillpack founders TJ Parker and Elliot Cohen remain Amazon employees.

Amazon has consolidated its healthcare efforts under one central organization and tapped a former Prime executive to run the businesses.

The tech giant elevated Neil Lindsay to the new role of senior vice president of health and brand within Amazon's worldwide consumer business, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Fierce Healthcare.

CNBC's Annie Palmer and Bertha Coombs first reported the executive move Thursday. Lindsay, a former senior vice president in Amazon's Prime business, took on the new role in November while continuing to run the company's global brand and fixed marketing businesses, the spokesperson said.

He has been transitioning out of his current role gradually over the fourth quarter.

Lindsay's responsibilities include overseeing Amazon's combined health efforts, including Amazon Pharmacy, Amazon Care and Diagnostics.

The consolidated healthcare structure will help Amazon as it works to develop "more customer-centric ways for patients to get the healthcare services, products and medications they need," the spokesperson said.

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Lindsay has 11 years of experience leading teams at Amazon and his product and business building and leadership experience will help Amazon "develop and grow an even more compelling set of healthcare programs making customers' lives easier, better and even healthier," the spokesperson said.

Axios' Erin Brodwin reported Friday that as a result of Lindsay's promotion to oversee Pharmacy and Amazon Care, TJ Parker and Elliot Cohen, the entrepreneurs behind PillPack, were quietly shifted to consultant roles. Citing a source familiar with the matter. Brodwin reported that Amazon Pharmacy employees who reported to Parker, who had been a vice president of pharmacy, will now report to Amazon Alexa VP John Love.

However, an Amazon spokesperson told Fierce Healthcare that Parker and Cohen remain Amazon employees and are, in fact, taking on bigger roles and were shifted to "strategic positions helping to shape Amazon’s broader healthcare vision and strategy."

Amazon shook up the retail drugstore market when it acquired PillPack three years ago and then again when it rolled out Amazon Pharmacy last year. 

Amazon bought PillPack for a reported $1 billion in cash.

Amazon has been pushing deeper into healthcare not just through its pharmacy business but also by expanding its virtual care program.

This year, the company began to expand its Amazon Care telehealth service from an in-house employee benefit to a widescale service available to employers throughout the U.S.

Amazon piloted its healthcare business in 2019 to provide virtual urgent care services to its employees. In March, Amazon Care announced it would begin serving other Washington-based businesses. The company also added in-person care and prescription delivery to its virtual services.

RELATED: Amazon Care lands its biggest public customer yet in hotel chain Hilton

The company now plans to roll out its hybrid care model, which combines virtual care services as well as in-home care, to Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles.

During the HLTH 2021 conference in Boston in October, Kristen Lloyd Helton, Ph.D., teased that Amazon Care might be expanding to other markets beyond those five cities this year as well. The company is committed to eventually expanding the full Amazon Care service, including in-person services, to all 50 states, she said.

Amazon also is making a major medical diagnostics play. It developed a proprietary COVID-19 test to screen its own workers during the pandemic and has now made its at-home sample collection kit available to the public online. Amazon’s direct-to-consumer coronavirus test received emergency use authorization from the FDA at the end of May.

The tech giant also is dabbling in wearable devices with the launch of its Halo device in August and also is striking deals to get its Alexa voice assistant into healthcare organizations. In October, it launched a new service for hospitals that will embed its voice technology deeper into clinical settings at scale.

And Amazon's cloud business also plays a key role in its healthcare strategy. It recently rolled out AWS for Health, a set of services and partner solutions for healthcare, genomics and biopharma.