The world’s biggest retailer is now joining sites like Keeps, Hims, and Roman as Jeff Bezos and Amazon launch a new online hair loss clinic
Talking to your doctor about thinning hair can be tough. That spurred the popularity of numerous sites where prescription drugs for alopecia are just a click away.
Now Amazon has launched a new online clinic for hair loss too.
The tech giant’s clinic, however, isn’t about nanoparticles or other AI-propelled hair loss innovations. It offers the same drugs your GP would recommend, like finasteride and minoxidil.
The new online Amazon Clinic also treats acne, erectile dysfunction, STDs, heartburn, smoking addiction, allergies UTIs, dry skin, dandruff, and several other minor medical maladies.
What Amazon’s new online hair loss clinic is all about
The online retailer has been making a series of big moves into the healthcare space. Amazon bought the brick-and-mortar primary care service One Medical in 2022, for nearly $4 billion, according to The New York Times.
This new online Amazon medical service, on the other hand, utilizes “message-based virtual care,” writes Dr. Nworah Ayogu, the clinic’s chief medical officer and general manager.
The real service that online hair loss or ED clinics are providing though, is privacy. Instead of calling your general practitioner and having an awkward conversation with a non-medically-trained receptionist, you can use this more impersonal portal.
Yes, a doctor will still be looking over your requests, and often photos, but the physical distance can help patients who have been reluctant to bring up certain issues in person.
This is not a new idea of course. Sites like Keeps, Hims, and Roman have long been offering similar services for hair loss and sexual health.
Amazon’s advantage is its existing customer base. You’re not signing up for a new service really, but rather adding a medical arrangement to your existing affair with the world’s second-largest company.
Amazon’s hair loss clinic extends its medical market share
This also comes after Amazon acquired the online pharmacy Pillpack in 2018 for $750 million, according to CNBC. Then, in 2019, Amazon rebranded Pillpack as Amazon Pharmacy.
This new Amazon clinic will certainly integrate neatly with Amazon’s online pharmacy, but it does not yet accept insurance, making it similar to other online clinics.
However, prices are reportedly competitive with insurance copays. The point of the service, as with all Amazon products, will be convenience and affordability.
My lengthy Amazon clinic medical experience
Full disclosure, I began using Pillpack around 2016 just as the Amazon purchase was about to go down.
None of my doctors had heard of Pillpak at the time, but it operated just like any other pharmacy. And as a frantic New Yorker, and non-car owner, avoiding in-person trips to Rite-Aid was a welcome change.
Coincidentally, I was also a patient at One Medical prior to that Amazon acquisition too.
The One Medical experience — at least in Manhattan — was incredible.
It’s sort of like a VIP lounge for primary care. But instead of warm towels and free drinks, they offer a row of incredibly helpful receptionists. These courteous medical concierges are sitting at refreshingly functional computers and will actually help solve your problems.
Amazon clinics aim for next-level service
This is not a puff piece and I have not been paid a dime. This is just my experience with Amazon’s medical wing.
I had three different doctors via One Medical and they were all professional and caring. Same-day appointments were often available.
The technical smoothness of One Medical was the real game changer. Suddenly I could see my doctor on short notice during lunch breaks and arrange it all quickly.
Oh, and if you call One Medical on the phone, a flesh-and-blood person just picks up and helps you. There’s no hold music or phone tree. And no exasperated operator annoyed to be bothered.
One more thing, and I swear this is true. One Medical takes insurance, but, understandably, given the level of service, there is also a membership fee.
I never paid this fee.
The fee sort of slipped my mind, and I sort of just didn’t want to pay. But either way, One Medical let me get away with it.
The only downside was I couldn’t access certain features online. I never lost access to the clinic itself though. And, as I said, you can just call these people. Actual humans answer quickly, and they’re nice.
Given this experience, I was not at all surprised when Amazon forked over billions to make this unusually competent operation their own.
What to make of Amazon’s launch into the hair loss and medical spaces?
Amazon already entertains you with prime, delivers all your groceries and retail goods, listens to your conversation with Alexa, and watches your front door with Ring.
And yes, now they could be taking a look inside your body too. This ubiquity is raising questions with lawmakers and activists, according to CNN Business.
Personally, I’ve taken a non-ideological approach to my Amazon relationship. Where their services save me time and money, like Pillpack, Prime, and formerly, One Medical, I take advantage.
I don’t pretend I can afford not to.
To balance that out, if I want a physical book — the once basis of this behemoth corporation — I support my locally-owned stores.
It’s a compromise, but for busy people, the efficiency of Amazon is the allure, bordering on necessity. Amazon’s new online hair loss clinic will likely be more of the same.