Adhering to the adage that it’s best to learn fast and fail fast when trying to grow and innovate, both Amazon and CVS Health recently halted health care business units.
Amazon closed its Halo division, which sold fitness tracker devices that worked with a subscription service and smart phone application. Beginning Aug. 1, all Amazon Halo devices and the accompanying app no longer will function and the company will delete any remaining data from Halo devices. The closing comes after the Halo division launched in 2020.
Although no official reason for the closing was given, some market analysts believe it was due to the intense competition in this space from competitors like Apple. Linda Finkel, CEO of the health care consulting firm Avia, told MedCity News that she expects to see more crowded digital health categories thin out under challenging financial conditions.
This marks the third time in roughly two years that Amazon has closed one of its health care business units. Last August, Amazon shuttered its Amazon Care business that launched in 2019. The model was positioned as a primary and urgent care alternative that would offer consumers and employers more convenient, lower-cost care. Amazon in 2021 also shut down Haven, its joint venture with JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway, just three years after its inception. The companies were working on ways to reduce costs for their 1.2 million workers.
CVS Health, meanwhile, recently announced that it will close its clinical trials division at the end of 2024. To date, CVS Health has worked with more than 30 drugmakers on 50 Phase II, III and IV studies involving 33,000 participants, notes one report.
The clinical trials division no longer fits into CVS Health’s long-term strategy, a company spokesperson told Modern Healthcare.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, which also started a clinical trials business two years ago, continues to remain committed to conducting clinical trials.