Amazon expands B2B marketplace to cover medical industry

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Amazon is widening its reach to try and become a major supplier of US hospitals and outpatient clinics. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is looking to turn its small medical supplies business into a huge enterprise, and its first move was to discuss the matter with hospital executives.

It has met with multiple execs in its Seattle headquarters on “several occasions”, the report says, with the latest ones being late in January. The goal of these meetings was to find out details about the sector and if, and how, the business-to-business marketplace could be expanded.

The goal is to have hospitals stock up from Amazon Business, for outpatient locations, operating suites and emergency rooms.

Amazon Business already offers some medical supplies, although nothing specialised, it was said.

The company recently sent a couple of its employees to a large Midwestern hospital system, where it demonstrated to hospital officials how they can order healthcare supplies using Amazon Business.

Hospital execs could do things like compare prices hospitals negotiate with their distributors, versus prices on Amazon Business.

In a statement to the Journal, Amazon said it's developing technology so that it can sell to health care customers and is aiming to provide hospitals with a marketplace that is different from how hospitals purchase supplies today, which involves contracts with distributors and the makers of the products. 

“Our goal is to be something new,” said Chris Holt, head of global health care at Amazon Business. “We’ve been actively building out new capabilities and features.” The executive called the current supply procurement system dated, which is why Amazon is aiming to transform the process.

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