Amazon Pharmacy is now a registered trademark in the UK, according to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO).

Amazon made the trademark application in January, but until recently it had been opposed by London-based healthcare company InfoHealth Laboratories.

Earlier this month, the Pharmacist reported that the application was proceeding to registration after receiving confirmation from the UK IPO that the opposition had been withdrawn.

The Amazon Pharmacy trademark was listed as registered on the UK IPO website last Friday (4 December).

Online pharmacies in US and India

Earlier this year, the Pharmacist reported that Amazon’s application for the trademark in the EU had also been successful and was listed as registered on 6 August.

The tech giant also launched its first online pharmacy in India in August – another of the countries it filed a trademark application for in January. Customers of the pharmacy, set up in the city of Bangalore, can order prescription-based medication, as well as over-the-counter medicines and Ayurvedic medication from certified sellers. 

Meanwhile, last month (17 November), Amazon Pharmacy launched in the US, offering Amazon Prime members free two-day delivery and discounts of up to 80% off generic medicines and 40% off branded medications when paying without insurance.

‘Patient safety is top priority’

Commenting on the newly registered trademark, Malcolm Harrison, CEO of the Company Chemists' Association (CCA), said: 'We are not surprised by this development, given Amazon’s activity elsewhere across the globe.

'Any new operators looking to supply medicines in the UK at scale through automation will face the same challenges that the current market face.'

He added: 'The current system is overly complex and burdened by unnecessary bureaucracy. We are continuing to call for changes to both legislation and regulation to enable the safe and legal supply of medicines to be easier for patients to access.'

A spokesperson for the National Pharmacy Association told the Pharmacist that the UK health system is ‘vastly different to the US’ and it ‘remains to be seen if the Amazon-style home delivery model is sustainable in this country’.

They added: ‘Patient safety is the top priority for pharmacists and medicines are not ordinary items of commerce, so pass through a highly regulated supply chain. Amazon would have to significantly upgrade its delivery network to deliver medicines and handle things like fridge items and controlled drugs.

‘An increasing number of people find it convenient to order their medication online but at the same time people value the face-to-face care available in local pharmacies, close to where they live, work and shop.’

Face-to-face interactions

Sandra Gidley, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: ‘While the public are increasingly buying online, it is vitally important to note that medicines are not normal consumer items. As experts in medicines, pharmacists are well placed to provide face-to-face interactions with patients to ensure they are taking their medicines correctly and safely.

‘Pharmacists also see patients when they are well and can spot signs of deteriorating health. Losing these interactions will have a detrimental impact on patient safety.’  

Amazon declined to comment.