Amazon recently met with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), prompting speculation over the nature of the meeting. According to the FDA’s public calendar, “Amazon leadership” met with Howard Sklamberg, the agency’s deputy commissioner for global regulatory operations and policy and “various FDA leadership.” The FDA and Amazon so far have declined to provide any further details.
The possible reasons for Amazon and FDA’s consultation ranges from the possibility of Amazon selling FDA-regulated healthcare products, to Amazon moving into the mobile health space. Whatever the exact reason, Amazon’s interest in meeting with the FDA is even more evidence that big tech is moving into healthcare in a big way.
Google reportedly previously met with the FDA to discuss plans for a contact lens that could sense glucose levels through tears and Apple reportedly furthered its plans for its HealthKit application and iWatch smartwatch in an FDA meeting.
Experts expect that Amazon’s plans involving the FDA will be big. “It would seem to me that they would be exploring changes in high-level policy,” surmised Bradley Merrill Thompson, a lawyer at Epstein Becker & Green, and a member of a panel that advised FDA on health information technology regulations, in an email to Modern Healthcare.
The meeting might have “something to do with the retail distribution of FDA-regulated products, and that the company needs some sort of change in policy to do whatever it is they have in mind doing,” said Thompson. “Amazon is always so creative that they tend to enter markets in a big way, disrupting existing business models. It will be fascinating to see whatever they have in mind.”