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Amazon joins US banks to enter healthcare sector

Online retailer Amazon has announced that it is joining forces with JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway to create a healthcare technology firm, with the intention of cutting costs for the firm’s employees.

The new firm, which is yet to be named, is said to be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints”, with the primary aim to provide healthcare to staff at a “reasonable cost”. The companies also said that they would focus on medical technology developments that would allow for “simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare”.

During discussions around the new company, one employee gave the example of an app that could help workers cut their medication bills by comparing prices at a pharmacy when they fill a prescription, informing them if there is a cheaper generic alternative.

The announcement has sparked some industry fears that Amazon, which has already dominated the retail and IT services industries, could disrupt the healthcare sector in the same way it has others.

The three firms are the largest private employers in the US, collectively engaging 500,000 staff between them.

"Our people want transparency, knowledge and control when it comes to managing their healthcare," said Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase.

"The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our US employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans."

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