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Amazon Launches New $5-a-Month Prescription Drug Plan

Amazon is launching a new benefit for Prime members that offers unlimited access to commonly prescribed generic medications for $5 a month.

January 24, 2023
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Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is an online retailer that offers a wide range of products, including books, music, electronics, and more. Founded in 1994, the company has since grown to become one of the largest online retailers in the world. Amazon.com Inc. is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Amazon is launching a new benefit for Prime members that offers unlimited access to commonly prescribed generic medications for $5 a month. This is the latest move by the e-commerce giant into healthcare.

RxPass, a new subscription service, is now available in most U.S. states through Amazon's online pharmacy. With this service, you can get your prescriptions delivered right to your door.

Amazon Prime customers can sign up for RxPass to get access to medications for common conditions like high blood pressure and anxiety for a flat fee of $5 a month. This service provides a convenient way for customers to get the medications they need without having to worry about shipping costs.

John Love, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, said that customers who pay more than $10 a month for their eligible medications will see a 50% drop or more in their prescription costs.

"Plus they save time by skipping a trip to the pharmacy," Mr. Love said.

Amazon began selling prescription medications in November 2020, two years after acquiring online pharmacy PillPack Inc. The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed more people to order their medications online rather than venture out to a bricks-and-mortar pharmacy.

RxPass is a subscription service for Prime members that covers more than 50 generic medications. Prime memberships cost $139 a year.

Some Prime members may not be able to access the service. Prime members with Medicare or Medicaid aren’t able to use RxPass, and it isn’t currently available in several states, including California and Texas.

An Amazon representative was not available for comment Tuesday when asked.

Amazon has been working to expand its healthcare offerings in the past year. In July, the company announced that it would be acquiring 1Life Healthcare Inc., an operator of primary-care clinics, in a $3.9 billion deal that included debt. Amazon was then among several bidders for the home-health-services provider Signify Health Inc., though it ultimately lost out to CVS Health Corp.

In November, the company launched Amazon Clinic, a message-based telehealth service offering virtual care for common conditions such as allergies and heartburn. Amazon Clinic allows customers to connect with a licensed healthcare provider via text or video chat in order to get treatment for minor health concerns. This service is convenient and affordable for those who may not have access to traditional healthcare resources.

Amazon has also halted some of its healthcare efforts. Last year, the company said it was shutting down Amazon Care, its telehealth service for in-house employees and businesses, after it struggled to expand outside of its own employee network.

Two years ago, the joint healthcare venture called Haven Health closed its doors. The group, which was made up of leaders from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., aimed to “transform health care” and reduce costs for workers at the three companies.

Mark Cuban's Cost Plus Drug Co. PBC is one of many companies working to lower the cost of prescription drugs. The company offers hundreds of affordable generic drugs through its online pharmacy, and says it charges less than its rivals. By selling directly to patients instead of insurance providers, the company is able to keep costs low.

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