“EP158: What if Amazon Decides to Break into the Pharmacy Business? Four Sticky Challenges and a Major Upside, with Pramod John PhD, CEO at Vivio Health”
by Stacey Richter

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In inbetweenisode 14, I laid out my vision for Amazon in the pharmacy space. You’re welcome, Amazon. In this episode, I had the privilege of speaking with Pramod John, who sums up the four structural roadblocks Amazon will face if they decide to gin up a pharmacy division. One of his points I find particularly key – Getting cheap convenient drugs from Amazon is not the point, it’s their huge opportunity to reinvent how Pharmacy works.

Pramod John is team leader of VIVIO Health, a company that is reinventing the therapeutic use and supply chain for the specialty drug space.

VIVIO Health’s solution is challenging the current framework of efficacy and extending it to true effectiveness in the real world. It also offers significant drug acquisition savings and simplicity for the patient by integrating the supply chain into a unified and data driven process.

Prior to VIVIO Health, Pramod was founder of Oration PBC (acquired by Pokitdok) which was focused on giving back consumers control over their drug purchasing by capturing the prescription in the physician’s office and providing real time pricing options and automatic routing capabilities.   Pramod was also VP of Strategy and Innovation at McKesson, the world’s largest healthcare company. At McKesson, Pramod helped develop solutions that leveraged advanced technologies and business process improvements to optimize healthcare delivery systems, infrastructure and supply chains.

Earlier, Pramod founded and served as CEO of PacketMotion, Inc., a venture-funded startup in the enterprise network information and policy management industry. The company was later acquired by VMWare. In addition, Pramod founded netExaminer.com, a managed-vulnerability assessment company acquired by SonicWALL (owned by Dell).

Pramod earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He serves on the Boards of Mission Aviation Fellowship, a global relief organization and 3 Crosses Church in Castro Valley, CA. He also serves on the advisory board of Folia Water and as a mentor at StartX.


00:00 Pramod’s article on Amazon getting into Pharmacy & Stacey’s Inbetweenisode 14.
00:45 The four key structural roadblocks Amazon would have to overcome to get into Pharmacy.
02:20 The issues in the pharmacy space & the hope that a disruptor can come in and fix these issues.
03:50 What Amazon would have to do to overcome the current issues in the drug market.
05:00 What innovation would Amazon have to bring to the market to truly be innovative?
07:00 The unmovable vested interests in the pharma industry.
08:15 The monopoly of the pharma industry on the micro level.
09:45 Why consumers go to Amazon.
10:15 The difference between the health care consumer market and other consumer markets.
11:10 The primary driver for consumers in the drug space.
12:20 The disjointed process of prescriptions and pharmacies.
13:15 What will lead to real disruption in this industry.
15:15 “Amazon doesn’t just mean Amazon anymore.”
16:15 The difference Amazon has made in an unregulated market versus a regulated market.
17:00 “What are we going to do about these intermediaries?”
17:30 The economic problem in the pharma market.
17:45 The best strategy to completely change the dynamics of the industry.
18:10 Taking insurance, Getting in Network, E-Prescribing, Buying a PBM.
22:45 “You can’t grow demand when three people control 70% of the market.”
28:50 The self-administered space.
30:15 “Disruption is going to come because we’re getting ahead of where the money is coming from in the future.”
31:00 You can learn more at www.viviohealth.com.

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