Amazon’s PillPack has struck a deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts that integrates the former’s digital pharmacy platform into the payer’s MyBlue member app.
As part of the agreement Blue Cross members will have the option to switch their prescriptions over to PillPack directly from the MyBlue app without having to reenter their insurance details or medication list.
Members will also have access to PillPack’s services, which include pre-sorted medication shipped directly to a patient’s house. It will also include access to an online pharmacist for phone, email or online chat. The service also checks to make sure there are no adverse medication interactions and can coordinate with clinicians to avoid gaps in prescriptions.
WHY IT MATTERS
It’s been about 18 months since Amazon acquired the Boston-based startup PillPack for a whopping $753 million. Since then the tech giant has been subtly making moves. In April it kicked off its PillPack marketing campaign with an email to its Prime users. More recently the digital pharmacy rebranded from "PillPack, an Amazon company" to "PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy."
Currently, it is in-network with all major pharmacy benefit managers, including CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, Optum Rx, Prime Therapeutics, Humana Pharmacy Solutions, Cigna, Aetna, MedImpact, EnvisionRx and CastiaRX.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing since the acquisition. Over the summer reports emerged that Amazon was contemplating a lawsuit against e-prescribing company Surescripts, after the former took action to prevent PillPack from accessing its patient information.
THE LARGER TREND
PillPack is not the only virtual pharmacy on the market. Recently Capsule, a New York City-based startup, scored $200 million to expand its hand-delivered same-day medication drop off services.
Also coming into the space is NowRx, an online pharmacy specializing in same-day, same-hour prescription deliveries. In October, the company announced a $7 million Series A raise.
ON THE RECORD
"By using the MyBlue app or website to switch to PillPack, members who take multiple medications won't need to stand in line at a pharmacy, spend their time sorting pills or worry about missing a refill," Katie Catlender, VP of customer experience at Blue Cross, said in a statement. "We hope this integration with PillPack will make it easy for our members to have a convenient way to manage their medications so they can get back to focusing on what's most important to them."