Amazon is entering the pharmacy business with a new offering called Amazon Pharmacy, allowing customers in the United States to order prescription medications for home delivery, including free delivery for Amazon Prime members.
Amazon has been quietly building out its pharmacy offering for several years after ramping up internal discussions in 2017 and acquiring PillPack in 2018. The pharmacy space is notoriously complex and competitive in the U.S., and Amazon Pharmacy is built in part on Pillpack’s infrastructure, including its pharmacy software, fulfillment centers and relationships with health plans.
Now the retailer says its shoppers can order generic and name-brand drugs for delivery within days. That includes common prescriptions such as insulin, inhalers, and blood pressure medications. The company says it will not deliver most opioids, which are controlled substances.
Amazon has launched the service for now in 45 states, excluding Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Minnesota. Amazon Pharmacy promises free two-day delivery for members of the company’s Prime subscription, which costs $119 a year in the United States.
The retailer says its pharmacy will accept most insurance. But it is also promoting its own discount program for paying subscribers, which Amazon says will apply not only to its marketplace but also at 50,000 other pharmacies nationwide.
“We wanted to make it easy for people to get their medication, understand the cost and get it delivered to the home,” said TJ Parker, Amazon’s vice president of pharmacy, who previously co-founded PillPack. “The hard work is to make it easy … there were a number of complications behind the scenes.”
“We think this new benefit will add tremendous value to our members,” added Jamil Ghani, vice president of Amazon Prime. “It’s relevant as folks try to do more from the comfort and safety of their homes.”