Amazon starts subscription prescription medication service

Amazon is augmenting its expanding health care business with a prescription drug discount program.

The retail giant announced on Tuesday that it will introduce RxPass, a subscription service for Prime subscribers. Amazon announced that customers will pay $5 per month to fill as many prescriptions as they need from a list of approximately 50 generic medications, which are typically less expensive than brand-name drugs.

The company stated that the fixed charge may cover a variety of drugs, including amoxicillin and naproxen. Sildenafil was also included. Under the brand name Viagra, it is used to treat erectile dysfunction and a form of high blood pressure.

Amazon stated that Prime members can receive discounts of up to 80% on generic prescriptions and 40% on brand-name drugs at over 60,000 pharmacies in the United States. The majority of health insurance plans are accepted, according to the company.

John Love, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, said in a statement about the new program, “Any customer who pays more than $10 a month for their eligible medications will see their prescription costs drop by 50% or more, plus they save time by skipping a trip to the pharmacy,”

Prime members can sign up for RxPass on Amazon.com or through the Amazon mobile app.

Through its pharmacy service, Amazon sells a number of generic drugs. Some cost as little as $1 for a 30-day supply, thus the customer advantage of this new scheme may vary.

People with Medicaid or Medicare coverage funded by the government are ineligible for the program. At launch, it will be accessible in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

Mark Cuban, a billionaire investor, discusses new online pharmacies and drug prices. 05:41

According to Karen Van Nuys, an economist who studies drug pricing at the University of Southern California, any program that expands access to low-cost generic drugs is “is a good thing,” She said that she was unsure of the magnitude of RxPass’s influence. She emphasized that the initiative is exclusive to Amazon Prime members. Other options, such as the Mark Cuban CostPlus Drug Co., sell more generic drugs, the majority of which cost less than $5.

Van Nuys stated, “I just don’t know that it’s expanding access to a new set of patients,”

Nevertheless, the move could assist the corporation in expanding its presence in the health care market, a goal it has not always achieved. Amazon Care, a hybrid virtual and in-home care service, was discontinued in 2017 after failing to gain momentum with employers. And Haven, a firm founded by Amazon in partnership with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway to reduce health care costs, folded a year earlier.

Amazon has stated that its online pharmacy Amazon Pharmacy is an integral part of its health care strategy, including the $3.9 billion acquisition of primary care business One Medical. The Federal Trade Commission is conducting an investigation into the planned acquisition.

In addition, the business said in November that it would launch “Amazon Clinic,” a messaging service that links patients with doctors for approximately two dozen common diseases, including allergies and hair loss.


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