Amazon enters a $300 billion market by launching Amazon Pharmacy, offering home delivery for prescriptions. Amazon Pharmacy offers a professional online experience and can help Amazon Prime users save up to 80% off generic and 40% off brand name medications.
Amazon has been planning to enter the pharmacy industry since 2017. In 2018 the company acquired PillPack who continues to supply multiple prescriptions on a 30-day delivery schedule. Amazon Pharmacy utilizes PillPack pharmacy software, fulfillment centers, and connections to health plans to provide fast, affordable prescriptions.
Amazon Pharmacy users can create a secure pharmacy profile and can expect a separate experience from other Amazon services. The pharmacy will not share medical data with marketers or advisors without permission and follows federal HIPAA guidelines.
Prescriptions can be sent to Amazon Pharmacy or patients can request a transfer from other providers. Amazon aims to decrease potential fraud by using verification tools for the legitimacy of a physician’s order. The site will ask questions required by law to confirm prescriptions such as a patient’s pregnancy status, date of birth, and gender that was assigned at birth.
Amazon Pharmacy users are offered generic and brand name drugs as well as birth control and commonly prescribed drugs such as insulin, triamcinolone steroid creams, metformin, and sumatriptan. The pharmacy will not offer vitamins or supplements and will not deliver Schedule II controlled medications, including most opioids.
So far, all states excluding Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Minnesota will have access to Amazon Pharmacy. The service will accept most forms of insurance and can help those without insurance save money. The use of flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts is also accepted.
Amazon Prime users are offered two-day delivery; however, it may take up to five days on the first order due to transfers. Non-prime users can pay $5.99 to upgrade to two-day delivery or can get free delivery within five days. Prime members are also offered a “prescription savings benefit” with the inclusion of a card that can be used at over 50,000 pharmacies. Customers can talk with a pharmacist or pharmacist technician over the phone or with the online self-service with questions about their medications.
With demand for healthcare technology continuing to increase, particularly with COVID-19 cases again on the rise, Amazon’s entrance into this market will not only make medications more accessible but will also further establish Amazon as a tech leader across industries.