Amazon launched a new service offering home delivery for prescription medication called Amazon Pharmacy, arguably marking the company’s biggest push in the healthcare sector to date.
The new service lets customers create their “secure pharmacy profile” that could include information about their health insurance, outstanding medical issues like allergies, and any regular prescriptions.
The store will offer a range of both generic and brand-name drugs, including commonly prescribed drugs like insulin, triamcinolone steroid creams, and so on — but it will not Schedule II medications such as many common opioids like Oxycontin.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon Prime members will get the best deal of Amazon’s latest offering — including free, two-day delivery along with discounts on medication that could go “up to 80 percent off generic and 40 percent off brand name medications when paying without insurance.” Furthermore, Prime members will also be able to save on medication bought in person from over 50,000 pharmacies across the US, including Rite Aid, CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens.
Amazon Pharmacy will be available in 45 states, excluding Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and Minnesota — which will be added to the offering in the (near?) future.
Most insurance plans are accepted.
Why does it matter?
This is a significant move for Amazon which has been “playing” in the healthcare space for quite some time.
In 2018, the tech giant bought drug delivery startup PillPack, which offering has been reportedly used to create Amazon Pharmacy. Nevertheless, Amazon says PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy will continue as a “distinct service,” aimed at customers “managing multiple daily medications for chronic conditions.”
Chances are Amazon is just getting started with its other health-based initiatives likely to follow in the months and years to come.
On the record
“As more and more people look to complete everyday errands from home, pharmacy is an important and needed addition to the Amazon online store,” Amazon’s Senior Vice President of North American Consumer, Doug Herrington, said in a press statement
The launch of Amazon Pharmacy has already taken a toll on the share price of companies like GoodRx, Walgreens and CVS.
GoodRx was hit the hardest, with its shares slumping 19% in pre-market trading. Walgreens Boots Alliance was down nearly 10% before market open and CVS Health slid 7%.
According to Healthcare Weekly, the pharmacy industry is worth $312 billion in the US, with annual growth rates of 3 percent driven primarily by the rise of online stores and home delivery.