Now available on Amazon: Insulin, inhalers, and other prescription drugs – all with two-day delivery for members of the e-commerce juggernaut’s prime shopping club.
With Amazon’s new online pharmacy opening Tuesday, users will be able to buy their medication and order refills on their phones or other devices and have them delivered to their doorsteps like a book or toilet paper in a matter of days. The move is propelling Amazon into a new business and potentially rocking the pharmacy industry, as it has been with booksellers, toy stores, and grocers.
Big chains like CVS and Walgreens rely on their pharmacies to reach a steady stream of shoppers who stop by frequently to pick up their medication. Amazon is also introducing the service as part of the coronavirus pandemic, which is stimulating consumer demand for online deliveries.
Drug chain stocks declined in pre-market trades, with CVS down 9% and Walgreens down 12%. Amazon stocks rose 2.6%.
Amazon said it would start offering frequently-prescribed drugs starting Tuesday, including creams and pills, as well as drugs that need to be kept cold, like insulin. Buyers must create a profile on the Amazon website and have doctors send prescriptions to the company.
Amazon said its customers will be able to research and compare drugs, including branded and generic versions, while getting the no-insurance price, their co-payment for insurance, or the price through a new Prime Prescription Savings Benefit check.
Most insurance is accepted, said Amazon. Prime members who don’t have insurance can also buy generic or branded drugs from Amazon at a discount. The company claims that generic drugs are up to 80% cheaper and branded drugs are up to 40% cheaper.
“We work hard behind the scenes to seamlessly address complications so anyone who needs a prescription can understand their options, place their order at the lowest available price, and have their medication delivered quickly,” said TJ Parker, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy a statement.
Amazon has had its eye on the healthcare industry for a while. Two years ago, $ 750 million was spent buying the online pharmacy PillPack, which organizes drugs into packages based on the time and day of use. Amazon said PillPack will continue and focus on shipping medicines to people with chronic conditions.