Amazon Unveils Pharmacy Offering, Hitting Shares of Drug Retailers

Source: FirstWord

Amazon.com announced Tuesday the launch of Amazon Pharmacy, allowing customers in the US to complete an entire pharmacy transaction on their desktop or mobile device through the Amazon app. The move sent shares in other drug retailers down, with Walgreens Boots falling over 11%, CVS Health slipping 9% and Rite Aid tumbling nearly 14%.

The news follows Amazon’s 2018 purchase of full-service online pharmacy PillPack for an undisclosed sum, later revealed to be $753 million. Doug Herrington, Amazon’s senior vice president of North American consumer operations, remarked that “PillPack has provided exceptional pharmacy service for individuals with chronic health conditions for over 6 years. Now, we’re expanding our pharmacy offering to Amazon.com.” Last year, PillPack updated its logo and other paperwork from “PillPack, an Amazon company” to “PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy.”

Free, two-day delivery

As part of Amazon Pharmacy, Prime members will receive unlimited, free two-day delivery on orders included with their membership. They can also access savings on medications at Amazon Pharmacy when paying without insurance, as well as at over 50,000 other participating pharmacies. According to the company, the Amazon Prime prescription savings benefit will save members up to 80% off generic drugs and 40% off brand-name medications when paying without insurance. Meanwhile, customers can ask their prescriber to send prescriptions directly to Amazon Pharmacy for fulfilment, with pharmacists available to answer questions about medications at any time.

“We designed Amazon Pharmacy to put customers first…[in] an industry that can be inconvenient and confusing,” said TJ Parker, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, adding that “anyone who needs a prescription can understand their options, place their order for the lowest available price, and have their medication delivered quickly.”

Potential to expand outside US

Amazon Pharmacy is not yet available in Illinois, Minnesota, Louisiana, Kentucky and Hawaii, a spokeswoman said.  Meanwhile, PillPack will still exist as a “distinct service for customers managing multiple daily medications for chronic conditions,” noted Amazon. 

In January, Amazon filed to trademark “Amazon Pharmacy” in Canada, according to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website, while similar trademark filings have also been made in the UK and Australia. 

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