Retail giant Amazon is building up its foothold in the digital pharmacy space by rolling out Amazon Pharmacy, a new digital shop that lets customers order and manage their prescription medications online and get them delivered at home.
Patients can access the new store via the Amazon App or on a desktop. They can create a profile, which includes information like insurance and prescription management. The tool was designed so that patients could request for their provider to prescribe directly to the Amazon service.
Once registered, patients are able to browse medications and compare name brands with generic brands. Additionally, the patient is able to look at what their insurance co-pay would be for different medications. People without insurance are able to look at what the sticker price is.
The new offering is giving specific deals to Amazon Prime members. For example, these clients will get unlimited, free two-day delivery, up to 80% of savings on generic prescriptions and 40% on brand prescriptions.
This announcement comes roughly two years after Amazon acquired digital pharmacy PillPack for just under $1 billion. PillPack will now be rolled into Amazon Pharmacy shop, but according to the release, will be continue as its own service to prepackage multiple daily medications for its users.
WHY IT MATTERS
Amazon is positioning its new efforts as a way to decrease the price of prescription drugs and give its users more autonomy.
“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, vice president of Amazon Prime, in a statement.
“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.”
This isn’t the only reason the industry is interested in Amazon’s efforts. This marks another move by the tech titan to get involved with the health space, which it has quickly begun moving into in recent years.
In 2018 it made headlines by teaming up with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase to build its own nonprofit health entity, which has since been named Haven. In the years since it was announced the public has seen very little out of the joint venture.
The next major move was Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack, which signaled the company’s interest in digital pharmacies. Today’s announcement is just another step furthering its efforts in this space.
THE LARGER TREND
Digital pharmacies are on the rise, and the investment dollars are pouring into this space. Virtual pharmacy Medly scored $100 million in Series B funding earlier this year; Alto announced a whopping $250 million Series D round; and Capsule scored $200 million in funding in 2019.
Another potential competitor in the space is GoodRx, an online pharmacy platform for low-cost prescriptions and price comparisons. In August the company filed to go public, making it one of the few companies to be profitable before filing.
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,” Doug Herrington, senior vice president of North American Consumer at Amazon, said 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.”