Amazon announced on Tuesday that it is expanding its foray into the healthcare industry by providing a $5 monthly subscription plan for its US prime members.
That will cover a variety of generic medications and their doorstep delivery under its healthcare service, ‘RxPass’.
Vin Gupta, Amazon Pharmacy’s chief medical officer, told Reuters that the company’s service would cover more than 50 medicines which treat over 80 chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, anxiety, diabetes, and male pattern baldness.
But the online retail firm made clear that customers cannot join Amazon Pharmacy’s RxPass service if they are enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, or any other government health programme.
John Love, the vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, said a prime member would save $100 annually with RxPass.
Love also said, ” We believe a lot of Americans, particularly those that suffer from a chronic illness, are going to benefit from just Amazon’s participation in pharmacy, the ability to get high-quality experience delivered to your door at low cost.”
In the majority of US states, Amazon Prime members can sign up for the service starting Tuesday.
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The flat $5 fee will, however, not cover insurance and is in addition to the prime membership cost, which in the US is $139 a year.
The new service offered is in line with Amazon’s efforts to expand its foray into the healthcare industry, which includes telehealth, prescription delivery, fitness monitors, and cancer research.
The retail giant launched a prescription delivery and price comparison website after acquiring PillPack, an online pharmacy, in 2018.
Now, its pharmacy strategy threatens other existing medicine retailers such as CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance, two pharmacy chains in the US.
According to IQVIA, a provider of health data, spending on prescription drugs in the United States is getting close to $500 billion yearly and is increasing by up to 7 per cent annually.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 60 per cent of American adults have at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease, and 40 per cent have two or more.