Amazon to offer new Choice-branded medical devices

Image used under fair use doctrine of copyright law.

Image used under fair use doctrine of copyright law.

Under an exclusivity arrangement, Amazon has started to offer Arcadia Group’s Choice-branded medical devices directly to the consumer. Initially, the products include blood glucose monitors and blood pressure monitors, and feature measurement tracking, data mobility and reminders through associated mobile apps. Some devices will have Bluetooth connectivity. Future features may incorporate voice-driven data interpretation and recommendations, likely integrated with Amazon’s Alexa personal digital assistant.

According to Arcadia, the Choice brand “is positioned to offer exceptional value versus what is available at traditional retail pharmacy outlets”. The agency says that other benefits include shopping from home, no insurance required, and “freedom of choice”, described as freedom from being told what brand to buy by an insurer. Amazon is positioning the Choice brand as “Wellness and care for everyone”.

As Amazon enters already crowded personal healthcare segments, it appears to be using a combination of the well-known “inkjet printer pricing strategy”, combined with traditional Amazon introductory pricing that is close to or undercuts the competition. Under this model, it sells the device at a very low price, but makes its margin on consumables, which are priced below the competition. However, looking ahead, for those who are more tech-savvy or live in Alexa-enabled homes, the additional tech features may tip the balance toward the Choice models and allow Amazon to increase its pricing somewhat, at least until the others catch up. In addition, it would help lock users into the Alexa ecosystem of smart devices.

The Choice Basic Blood Glucose Monitor, currently available, retails for $11.55. The monitor package also includes a lancing device, 10 lancets, carry case, and pre-installed 3-volt lithium batteries. The product claims to accurately read a blood sample in six seconds. The Choice Wireless Blood Glucose Monitor retails for $23.15, and strips, available in three different counts, are $18.50 for the 100-count package. This compares to the cheapest device found in a cursory search, the Contour Next One Smart Meter, which sells on Amazon for $9.99. However, Contour Next strips are priced much higher, at $36 for the 100-count size.

Arcadia has some experience in mass market products, having previously developed Walmart’s ReliOn brand, which offers similar devices for diabetes management and blood pressure control.