Amazon (AMZN) is stepping into the $4 trillion U.S. healthcare industry with Amazon Pharmacy – a new store on its e-commerce site that will allow consumers to purchase prescription medications online for home delivery.
The prescription service will roll out on Tuesday in 45 states, excluding Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Minnesota, for customers over the age of 18, CNBC reported. Amazon expects to offer the service nationwide over time.
Amazon Pharmacy works with or without a customer’s health insurance, which is added to their secure pharmacy profile. Prescriptions can also be managed and paid for using a series of payment options at check out, just like a traditional Amazon purchase.
Consumers will also be able to use a flexible spending account or health saving account to pay for their prescriptions on Amazon Pharmacy, CNBC said. A physician prescription is required to purchase medication on the site, and a series of questions may need to be answered before an order can be placed for the first time with the site.
Patients can request that their doctors send their prescription directly to Amazon Pharmacy, or they can transfer an existing prescription to the service online. They will then be able to compare their insurance co-pay, price without insurance or available savings with Prime prescriptions savings benefit to determine the best price option to save with Amazon Pharmacy.
Prime members will also receive unlimited, free two-day delivery on their pharmacy orders. Prime members will also save up to 80% on generic medications and up to 40% off brand name medications at Amazon Pharmacy without insurance through Inside Rx, a subsidiary of Evernorth, as well as saving at over 50,000 other participating pharmacies nationwide.
Customers without Prime memberships will receive free delivery within five days or two-day delivery for $5.99.
Prescriptions are delivered directly to a consumer’s preferred addresses in discreet packaging, and all HIPAA laws are followed, Amazon said. Schedule II controlled medications, such as opioids, are not deliverable through Amazon Pharmacy.
For consumers that take multiple daily medications for chronic conditions, Amazon Pharmacy offers a pre-sorted dose packaging through PillPack – a company that Amazon bought in 2018 for $750 million.
“We designed Amazon Pharmacy to put customers first – bringing Amazon’s customer obsession to an industry that can be inconvenient and confusing,” TJ Parker, vice president, Amazon Pharmacy, said in a statement.
“We work hard behind the scenes to handle complications seamlessly so anyone who needs a prescription can understand their options, place their order for the lowest available price, and have their medication delivered quickly,” he added.
Upon the news that Amazon was now entering the U.S. pharmacy market, rivals CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid saw their share prices tumble. CVS shares were down over 7.8%, Walgreens was down over 9%, and Rite Aid dropped over 14.9%.
Shares of Amazon were trading at $3,150.01, up $18.95 or 0.61%.
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