Online bookseller Amazon.com has taken a major stake in a start-up online pharmacy, signalling its most strident move away from just selling books.
Amazon.com confirmed that it has taken a 45 per cent share in Drugstore.com. The site which goes live today will sell prescription and non-prescription drugs, cosmetics and health care products.
A spokesperson for Amazon said that at the moment it is "definitely only a Stateside business?. If Amazon wanted to launch the service in the UK it would not be able to sell prescription drugs online, under current legislation. ?The US system is very different,? said an Amazon spokesperson.
Amazon would not comment on how much it has invested in Drugstore.com, but interestingly, both companies are backed by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers - a powerful Silicon Valley venture-capital company.
Amazon said the investment was part of its strategy to expand out of its core products - books, CDs and videos - and become an all encompassing, global retail outlet.
Drugstore.com?s only other big competitor in the online pharmacy market is PlanetRX, another start-up.
Analysts were not surprised by the move. The online bookstore has always said that it will use partnerships to reach its goals.
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