Walmart is said to be in talks to buy pharmacy packager

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Walmart is in early talks about a deal for closely held PillPack, an online startup that could help grow the retail giant’s pharmacy offerings, according to people familiar with the situation.

PillPack and Walmart declined to comment. CNBC first reported the talks Monday and said the price being discussed was less than $1 billion. It’s not clear if the talks will lead to a deal.

PillPack has raised $118 million in venture funding, the company says on its website. It pre-sorts pills into date- and time-stamped packets for patients who take multiple drugs, which is common for older people dealing with several chronic conditions.

PillPack also has developed pharmacy software that helps coordinate refills, ensuring that shipments are on time; its application provides an online dashboard for patients.

Seniors are a key demographic for Walmart, which runs about 4,700 U.S. pharmacies and has been eyeing how to expand its healthcare business for years.

Walmart also has a deal with insurer Humana to offer co-branded Medicare drug plans. Last week, Bloomberg and others reported that Walmart was discussing a closer partnership or merger with Humana.

Neither Walmart or Humana have commented on the reports, and Bloomberg reported that they are mainly considering a deeper partnership to provide care to consumers at or near their homes, as opposed to an outright merger.

Bloomberg News