Costco is now gearing up to bring health care into its aisles. Partnering up with Sesame, a telehealth company that doles out healthcare out-of-pocket, it touts visits as low as $29.
This didn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Large retailers are already foaming at the mouth where it comes to cutting themselves a piece of the healthcare pie.
It’s an $800 billion dollar industry, after all, folks! Why not commoditize it further, especially as private equity has already inserted itself so cleverly into the mix?
I’m being sarcastic here, friends.
I can picture it now, especially as I’ve been a Costco member in the past: workers lining each aisle, doling out taste-tests of the latest medications.
I mean, they’re already doing it on TV: advertising prescription medications B to C. Now they can bring them into your local shopping store and directly into your face!
If you’ve been a Costco member, too, you’ll likely chuckle at the reference. Their “tasting stands.” take products from the store and basically give consumers a taste, to convince them to buy.
“Hey there, have you tasted the latest in metformin?” they’ll ask me, as I attempt to lift the 5,000 pound bag of rice. “It comes in strawberry, mint, and even mocha flavors now!”
Or Lasix! “Have you tried this variety before? Makes you pee and even shed a few pounds in the process! Plus, it’s a gummy, and who can honestly say no to that? Give it a chew, you’ll just love it!”
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When I shared my thoughts on this, on LinkedIn, Dr. David Epstein, a pediatric intensive care physician, weighed in. He compared the move to fast food, cleverly calling it “fast food healthcare”.
I love the term, and can’t wait to read what he has to say in this regard. I have a feeling he’ll be sharing his thoughts on SoMeDocs! Stay tuned for my own thoughts on why his analogy works so well, too.
In the meantime, I’ve recently renewed my Costco membership. It looks like I’ll be picking up my fish there (I baked an incredible tomato-basil topped halibut the other day using their wild-caught fish!) with a side of medical consult!