Amazon has staked yet another retail claim.
Amazon has been quietly building its presence in the pharmaceutical industry for the last several years, acquiring PillPack in 2018 and developing formal business strategies. Today, Amazon has formally put those strategies into action with its latest retail foray: Amazon Pharmacy.
As the name no doubt implies, Amazon Pharmacy is an online prescription service maintained by Amazon and supported by PillPack. The service has already launched in 45 of the United States, with the exception of Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and Minnesota. To use the service, users must answer a few questions in a survey, in the same vein as pharmacy paperwork, submit insurance information, and ensure the prescription they want is available. Prescriptions can also be ordered without insurance, and Amazon has even promised some discounts to those without it. The prescription will then be delivered to the user’s address in discreet packaging. As an additional bonus, users with Amazon Prime will receive free two-day delivery on all ordered prescriptions, as well as some other potential discounts. If you don’t have Prime, you can get five-day delivery or upgrade to two-day for an additional charge.
Amazon will be handling both name-brand and generic drugs through this service, and are already open to receiving requests from physicians, as well as transfer orders from customers wanting to switch from their current pharmacy. Amazon will also have pharmacists standing by on phones to answer any questions. Schedule II controlled medications like opioids, however, will not be available through Amazon Pharmacy.
As soon as Amazon Pharmacy launched today, their share values jumped, while many major pharmacy retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid saw their stock values drop. As has become the norm for Amazon, their new presence in this sector is causing those who previously dominated it no shortage of worry.