Amazon launches an online pharmacy, Amazon Pharmacy, the company’s biggest push into the USD300 billion market, unsettling the dominance of traditional pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, as well as large retailers including Walmart. The move comes after acquiring PillPack in 2018, an Internet pharmacy offering pre-sorted dose packaging and home delivery.
Amazon Pharmacy is designed to make it easy and convenient to order prescription medicines online allowing customers in the United States to order prescription medications for home delivery, including free delivery for Amazon Prime members.
The announcement is well timed as Americans are increasingly relying on getting their medicines via mail to avoid possible exposure to the coronavirus. That shift could be permanent, as more people than ever before are learning about new ways of receiving medication.
According to TJ Parker, Amazon’s vice president of pharmacy, who also previously co-founded PillPack, said they wanted to make it easy for people to get their medication, understand the cost and get it delivered to the home.
“The hard work is to make it easy and seamless for customers who need a prescription can understand their options, place their orders for the lowest available price, from the comfort and safety of their homes, and have it delivered to their door-step quickly.”
PillPack will continue to serve customers even after Amazon Pharmacy launches, as the company is designed for a different use-case. It delivers medicines on a 30-day schedule to a population of patients that tend to be sicker and older than average, and often require multiple prescriptions.
Amazon said that the storage and collection of customer health information is in compliance with federal HIPAA rules, and the company won’t share pharmacy data with advertisers or marketers without permission.
The online pharmacy would allow customers to use their insurance or pay out of pocket with discounts offered for Amazon Prime members.
Pharmacy stocks tumbled following the launch of Amazon Pharmacy. Rival pharmacy operators saw their shares fell, with CVS losing 8.6%, Walgreens Boots Alliance dropped 9.6% and Rite Aid slid 16.2%. Amazon shares closed slightly higher.