In an effort to increase subscriptions and draw people to its pharmacy service, Amazon on Tuesday (January 24, 2023) introduced a new prescription benefit for U.S. Prime members.
The RxPass add-on will let Prime members to purchase as many prescription pharmaceuticals as they require from a list of 50 generic drugs to treat more than 80 common chronic diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and anxiety. The monthly fee for the service is $5 per person, and delivery is free.
Amazon has pushed deeper into health care in recent years. The business purchased PillPack in 2018 and used the proceeds to create its own online pharmacy in 2020. A telemedicine program called Amazon Care was launched by Amazon before it was discontinued, and in July it was revealed that the company would buy upscale primary care provider One Medical.
Additionally, Amazon provides a Prime prescription savings benefit that provides discounts of up to 40% and 80% on brand-name and generic prescriptions, respectively.
Amazon is beefing up perks for its Prime subscription program as CEO Andy Jassy looks to cut costs elsewhere in the company. About 18,000 people could be let go by Amazon, which has also stopped hiring for its corporate team and shelved other projects. Still, Jassy has said Amazon intends to keep pursuing long-term opportunities, including health care.
The e-retailer faces competition in pharmacy from the likes of CVS, Walgreens and Walmart. Amazon hasn’t said how its online pharmacy offering has fared since its launch. An August report from Morgan Stanley found Amazon Pharmacy didn’t rank as a top perk for Prime members, based on a survey of users, according to Business Insider.
Amazon Pharmacy’s chief medical officer, Vin Gupta, said the company is aiming to deliver a pharmacy experience that is “fundamentally different” from how pharmacies have existed over the last several decades.
“This is still day one for us where we’re at our beginning stages here, but we recognize that change is needed,” Gupta said in an interview. “That’s what patients across the country are telling us, and that’s what Amazon is responding to.”
RxPass doesn’t offer insulin or specialty medications, and it’s not available for people on Medicaid or Medicare. Gupta declined to say whether Amazon will expand the list of medications offered through RxPass in the future.
Approximately 150 million people are on at least one of the medications included in the initial RxPass formulary, he said.