Amazon secures ‘Amazon Pharmacy’ trademark in the UK

The trademark's registration comes after Amazon acquired US online pharmacy PillPack in 2019, although critics say face-to-face pharmacy interaction is valuable.
Amazon Pharmacy Rx bottle

E-commerce and technology giant Amazon has registered a UK trademark for the term ‘Amazon Pharmacy’, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has confirmed.

The Amazon Pharmacy trademark was granted registered status in the UK on 4 December 2020 following its initial application, which was submitted on 9 January 2020.

A spokesperson for the IPO confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal on 4 March 2021 “that Amazon Pharmacy, number UK00003456776, is registered status in the UK”.

The trademark’s registration, which is linked to “online retail pharmacy services”, comes after the company acquired the US online pharmacy PillPack in 2019, which operates in 49 US states.

Amazon later launched an Amazon Pharmacy service in the US in November 2020.

Sandra Gidley, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “We are all buying more online, but it’s important that medicines aren’t considered normal consumer items that we should buy over the internet.

“Having a face-to-face conversation with a pharmacist about medicines is incredibly valuable, particularly if a patient is unsure and needs advice on what they are taking.”

Without these interactions, Gidley said that “opportunities to make vital health interventions are lost, meaning the patient is potentially put at risk”.

“I would urge the public to continue supporting their local pharmacy, particularly considering they have continued to support the nation’s health by remaining open for all during the pandemic.”

Claire O’Connell, director of IT and digital at Well Pharmacy, said the company has “been expecting Amazon to enter the UK pharmacy market for quite a long time now”. 

“While we know it will be disruptive, we welcome it because it will undoubtedly accelerate changes which will benefit patients and customers,” she said.

“At Well Pharmacy, we firmly believe that patients’ needs are best served by an omnichannel solution, where patients can engage digitally, or in person, depending on their individual needs and preferences.”

O’Connell added that bricks-and-mortar pharmacies “will not be replaced, they will work hand in hand with digital services”.

In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Amazon told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the company had nothing to add.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, March 2021, Vol 306, No 7947;306(7947)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.61899

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