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Amazon lays off hundreds of health care workers

Head of Amazon Health Services says announcement was leaked

Hundreds of Amazon employees working in the retail giant’s health care division will soon be laid off, according to a leaked memo from Neil Lindsay, senior vice president of Amazon Health Services. 

CNBC reports that Lindsay sent employees a memo on Tuesday telling employees that Amazon Pharmacy, One Medical, and Amazon Clinic have all seen “tremendous growth” in the past year, but Amazon has decided to reallocate resources for some of those programs.

“As we continue to make it easier for people to get and stay healthy, we have identified areas where we can reposition resources so we can invest in invention[s] and experiences that have a direct impact on our customers and members of all ages. Unfortunately, these changes will result in the elimination of a few hundred roles across One Medical and Amazon Pharmacy,” he said. 

He added that the company typically waits to announce layoffs until it’s had the chance to speak directly with those affected. 

“However, because one of our teammates leaked this information externally, I wanted you to hear the details directly from me,” Lindsay said. “This is not ideal, and I am sorry if you heard about this externally first.”

He also took the opportunity to tout the company’s success over the past year in the memo. 

“We reinvented the Amazon Pharmacy experience throughout 2023 to make it more affordable and convenient for customers to get the prescription medications they need through RxPass, automatic coupons, partnerships, and more,” Lindsay said. “We expanded Amazon Clinic nationwide, and since launch, the marketplace has seen a 96% customer satisfaction rating. 

“And, One Medical continues to grow its membership, benefiting from increased awareness from Amazon, such as the new Prime member benefit, while also focusing on ways to continually improve the care experience for members across One Medical and One Medical Seniors.”

Amazon purchased One Medical in July 2022 for $3.9 billion. The company offers medical services to patients through in-office care, digital visits, and other services. 

“There is an immense opportunity to make the health care experience more accessible, affordable, and even enjoyable for patients, providers, and payers,” Amir Dan Rubin, One Medical CEO, said at the time of the acquisition. “We look forward to innovating and expanding access to quality health care services, together.”

Amazon touted its growth in the pharmacy sector in early February during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call, noting its success with One Medical and Amazon Pharmacy over the last year. 

“If you think about what we do on the retail side, adding a pharmacy capability is a pretty natural extension,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said. “It’s something that customers have asked us for, for many years, and it’s got more complexity to it than the rest of our retail business, so we had to think carefully about whether we wanted to pursue it.”

In 2023, the company enabled members of Amazon Prime to get One Medical service for just $9 a month or $99 a year, making primary care services available to them across the country. 

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