Amazon Offers Generic Drugs For  Monthly Fee With Prime, Expanding Healthcare Arm – GeekWire

Amazon Offers Generic Drugs For $5 Monthly Fee With Prime, Expanding Healthcare Arm – GeekWire

RxPass smartphone interface. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon is offering a new healthcare service, RxPass, which allows Amazon Prime members access to multiple generic medications for a flat $5 monthly fee.

The fee is on top of the $139 annual or $14.99 monthly cost of Amazon Prime, the membership plan that provides fast product delivery and other benefits at the online retail giant. Medication delivery with RxPass, part of Amazon Pharmacy, is free.

The new service, available in 42 US states, provides access to medications for more than 80 common conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acid reflux.

“We are excited about the potential impact this will have for those people who are taking multiple medications. Those are the ones we think will benefit the most from this service,” Vin Gupta, chief medical officer at Amazon Pharmacy, said in an interview with GeekWire.

RxPass is the latest healthcare initiative from Amazon, which announced plans to acquire primary care service One Medical for $3.9 billion in July, and in November introduced Amazon Clinic, a message-based health service that treats a variety of conditions. , including COVID-19.

Amazon also shut down Amazon Care, a primary care service, last year.

RxPass offers Prime members a way to save on medications in addition to an existing benefit that provides discounts at more than 60,000 pharmacies, including Amazon Pharmacy. Under that benefit, customers can save up to 80% off the industry standard price for generic drugs, according to Amazon.

RxPass offers “additional simplicity, affordability and convenience,” Gupta said. “Month after month, year after year, you can set it and forget it.”

Amazon launched its Amazon Pharmacy service in November 2020, following its acquisition of mail-order prescription company PillPack for $753 million in 2018.

As it develops new healthcare capabilities, Amazon’s potential to combine services or bundle them into Prime grows, outside observers noted.

Vin Gupta, chief medical officer at Amazon Pharmacy. (Amazon Photo)

About 150 million Americans take at least one of the drugs available with RxPass, Gupta said, and the service offers a cost-effective way for the uninsured and underinsured to access them.

Another company that offers low-cost prescriptions, GoodRx, provides online discount coupons and information on drug prices at multiple pharmacies. Its revenue model involves payments from pharmacy benefit managers, the intermediaries that operate between manufacturers and retailers.

Other companies offering drug price transparency and discounts include PharmacyChecker, oneRx, SingleCare, and Seattle-area startup Prescryptive Health. Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs is another player.

Amazon’s $5 flat fee for a wide range of drugs is “one of a kind,” Gupta said. “To our knowledge, we haven’t seen a similarly structured offer,” she said.

RxPass should make it easier and more affordable for people who neglect to take their medications to access them, said Gupta, who is also a pulmonologist, affiliate faculty member at the University of Washington and a medical analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. RxPass will “help promote better adherence and better health outcomes,” said Gupta, who joined Amazon in 2020.

RxPass is not available to people with Medicare, Medicaid or other government health programs and is available in most US states, according to an Amazon blog post featuring RxPass on Tuesday.

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