Amazon Launches Digital Pharmacy Platform

The new service will offer prescription delivery and fulfilment as well as exclusive discounts for Prime members.

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Need to Know

  • Amazon Pharmacy is the online retail giant’s own online and mobile prescription ordering and fulfillment service.
  • The service allows users to add insurance information, select payment options, and speak to pharmacists 24 hours a day, all within the Amazon platform.
  • Amazon Prime members will be offered discounts on Amazon Pharmacy purchases when they pay without insurance.
  • Amazon Pharmacy is currently U.S.-only.

Analysis

As both e-commerce and flexible healthcare options have become of vital importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon is expanding its healthcare offerings in a substantial way, announcing the launch of Amazon Pharmacy, a proprietary new prescription ordering and fulfillment service that exists entirely within the Amazon platform.

Amazon already has a foothold in the pharmacy industry, having acquired Pillpack, the prescription delivery service, in mid-2018. Amazon Pharmacy will be contained entirely within Amazon’s ecosystem: in addition to selling prescriptions and over-the-counter medication, Amazon Pharmacy will allow users to add insurance information, choose their method of payment, and manage their prescriptions without leaving Amazon’s website or mobile app. In addition, Amazon Pharmacy offers the option for users to speak with pharmacists 24 hours a day, either online—again, within Amazon.com or via its app—or by making a phone call.

“As more and more people look to complete everyday errands from home, pharmacy is an important and needed addition to the Amazon online store,” said Doug Herrington, SVP of North American consumer at Amazon, in a statement. “PillPack has provided exceptional pharmacy service for individuals with chronic health conditions for over six years. Now, we’re expanding our pharmacy offering to Amazon.com, which will help more customers save time, save money, simplify their lives, and feel healthier.”

Amazon Prime members will have access to perks and deals on Amazon Pharmacy, including discounts on prescriptions when they pay without insurance. Prime members will also get free two-day delivery on prescriptions. Amazon Pharmacy will also allow customers to compare prices with their insurance co-pay, without insurance, or with the savings available through the Prime prescription savings plan to choose the lowest option.

“We understand the importance of access to affordable medication, and we believe Prime members will find tremendous value with the new Amazon Prime prescription savings benefit,” said Jamil Ghani, VP of Amazon Prime. “Our goal is for Prime to make members’ lives easier and more convenient every day, and we’re excited to extend the incredible savings, seamless shopping experience, and fast, free delivery members know and love with Prime to Amazon Pharmacy.”

Amazon Pharmacy positions Amazon as a direct competitor to online prescription fulfillment services such as RxSaver and ExactCare Pharmacy while giving Amazon vital new insights into its customer base. The move comes just months after Walmart announced the purchase of assets from CareZone, the app allows individuals and families manage prescriptions for each member of the household by scanning medical labels. The app allows family members to scan insurance cards, catalog information about chronic illnesses for easy access and sends automatic reminders for refills.

Amazon Pharmacy is currently available for U.S. customers only.

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