(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. is offering six-month prescriptions starting at $6 for medications for common ailments, the company’s latest effort to entice more people to buy drugs online rather than at a pharmacy or supermarket.
Most insurance companies don’t cover six-month prescriptions, so the offering targets both the uninsured and those who are insured but still pay cash due to high out-of-pocket prescription costs associated with their plans.
Amazon has been trying to make headway in the $360 billion U.S. prescription drug market since acquiring online pharmacy PillPack in 2018, threatening industry incumbents CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. PillPack targeted consumers who take multiple medications, simplifying their regimen by sending the drugs in daily packets.
The new offering from Amazon Pharmacy is aimed at consumers who take just one or two daily pills to manage common ailments such as high-blood pressure and diabetes. Amazon Prime subscribers, who pay for delivery discounts and other perks, will be able to get six-month prescriptions for $6 on such medications as amlodipine for high blood pressure and simvastatin for high cholesterol.
Amazon can buy the medication in bulk at a discount and make two annual deliveries to the customer, using the savings to reduce costs, said Amazon Pharmacy Vice President TJ Parker. “We want to make filling a prescription just as easy as shopping on Amazon,” he said.
The company’s push into prescription drugs follows retailers Walmart Inc., Kroger Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp., which use discount drugs to keep customers coming to their stores where they’re likely to make other purchases. On Monday, Walmart said it would offer members of its online delivery service discounts for commonly prescribed medications.
(Updates with Walmart prescription service in last paragraph.)
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