There’s so much going on in the world and it can be difficult to understand it all at times — by reading this newsletter, you’re getting a digest of the biggest news this week, what it means and why it matters. If you like what you see, send it to a friend or ask them to sign up here.
Amazon is getting into the prescription drug business
Drug companies and pharmacy chains have something to worry about now that Amazon has purchased PillPack, a company that packages, organizes and delivers pre-sorted doses of medications for customers. The company claims to be licensed to ship prescription to 50 states, which poses a threat to Walgreens and CVS, two of the biggest drugstore chains in the US. It also works with Medicare Part D drug plans, giving the internet conglomerate instant access to a large market.
Amazon will pay a reported $1 billion for PillPack and the transaction is expected to close by the second half of the year, according to a joint statement. The company has raised a total of $117.8 million, and is operating in a sector where an estimated $300 billion is spent on prescription drugs each year.
Prescription drug spending in the United States (in billions)
The private firm has software that automates many tasks, such as verifying when a prescription is due for refill, confirming insurance and determining co-pay amounts, eliminating much of the work a pharmacist would traditionally do.
This is somewhat of a shocker for the public as Amazon typically has stayed out of the healthcare field, but with its expertise in automation and computer learning, PillPack could both scale to more customers and expand to other countries now that it has a large amount of cash at hand.
The launch of Apple Maps went less than ideally and though CEO issued a public apology, the service still isn't a world-class app. It turns out Apple is aware of this and is planning on rebuilding the maps component of the built-in app as a result.
Reportedly, the company will do so using first-party data from iPhones, collected with a privacy-first method alongside its own fleet of sensor-packed vehicles. The updated product will launch in the San Francisco Bay area with iOS 12 and will cover all of northern California by the fall. All versions of iOS will eventually get the updated maps app, which will contain more visuals, including pools, pedestrian pathways and more. Eventually the company hopes to be self-reliant and not need third-party data as a basis for the app.
“Since we introduced this six years ago — we won’t rehash all the issues we’ve had when we introduced it — we’ve done a huge investment in getting the map up to par,” Eddy Cue, Apple SVP said. “When we launched, a lot of it was all about directions and getting to a certain place. Finding the place and getting directions to that place. We’ve done a huge investment of making millions of changes, adding millions of locations, updating the map and changing the map more frequently. All of those things over the past six years.”
Number of the week
Lyft has announced its acquisition of Motivate, the company behind Citi Bike in New York City and the GoBike program in San Francisco, for a reported $250 million. The company accounts for 80 percent of bike-share rides in the US and operates networks in Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC, Portland, OR and more.
The company says it “will invest to establish bike offerings in our major markets and pursue growth and innovation in the markets where Motivate currently operates,” but has not said if it will expand the company beyond its current locations. It did also not mention whether users of the Lyft app will be able to rent a bike in the same app that they hail their ride.
Motivate's city contracts will be taken on by Lyft, but its maintenance operations will “will remain a standalone business, retaining the Motivate name, and will continue to support bike-share systems across North America.”
In case you missed it
- Canada is imposing retaliatory tariffs on $12.6 billion in US goods in response to Trump's tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Steel and iron will be hit with a 25 percent tariff — equal to the tariffs the President imposed on steel. Other goods, like ketchup and pizza, will face a 10 percent tariff and Justin Trudeau warned Canadians to "make their choices accordingly."
- Best Buy will stop carrying CD's and will turn its focus to vinyl, reportedly due to the increased usage of streaming music services. “The way people buy and listen to music has dramatically changed and, as a result, we are reducing the amount of space devoted to CDs in our stores,” officials said.
- Cineplex is now offering delivery of concession stand snacks — popcorn, candy, nachos and pop — to customers in more than 60 metro areas across Ontario, BC, Alberta and Quebec. Different offerings will be available including the "Cineplex Movie Night In Combo," which consists of a HD movie rental, two medium popcorns, candies and drinks for $28.99, delivered via UberEats.
- Two men were fatally gunned down on Queen Street West around 8pm on Saturday evening, both of whom were members of Toronto's rap community. Then on Sunday four people were injured in a shooting in Kensington Market and though police are still investigating, Mayor John Tory blamed on street gangs.