Amazon On Tuesday, it announced new prescription benefits for US Prime members in hopes of increasing subscriptions and attracting users to its pharmacy services.
An add-on called RxPass gives Prime members access to as many medicines as they need from a list of 50 generic medicines to treat over 80 common chronic conditions, including hypertension, anxiety and diabetes. The service costs $5 per person per month with free delivery.
Amazon has been focusing on healthcare in recent years. The company launched its own online pharmacy in his 2020. It’s a service born out of his PillPack acquisition in 2018. Amazon introduced a telemedicine service called Amazon Care, then shut it down, and announced in July that it would acquire One Medical, a boutique primary care provider. .
Amazon also offers Prime Prescription Savings benefits that offer up to 80% off generics and up to 40% off brand name prescriptions.
Amazon is ramping up its Prime subscription program benefits as CEO Andy Jassy looks to cut costs elsewhere in the company. While Amazon is eyeing layoffs of about 18,000 employees, it has frozen the hiring of corporate workers and canceled several projects. Still, Jassy said Amazon intends to continue pursuing long-term opportunities, including in healthcare.
The e-retailer faces pharmacy competition from CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and others. Amazon has not disclosed what has happened since the online pharmacy was launched. According to Business Insider, Morgan Stanley’s August report found that Amazon Pharmacy didn’t rank among the top perks for his Prime members, based on a survey of users.
Vin Gupta, Amazon’s chief medical officer, said the company aims to offer a “fundamentally different” pharmacy experience from what has existed for decades.
In an interview, Gupta said, “This is day one and we are still in the beginning stages, but we recognize that change is needed.” That’s what Amazon does.”
RxPass does not offer insulin or specialty medications and is not available to people with Medicaid or Medicare. Gupta declined to say whether Amazon will expand the list of medicines offered through his RxPass in the future.
About 150 million people are using at least one of the drugs included in the original RxPass formulary, he said.
— CNBC’s Bertha Coombs contributed to this article.