Nov 17, 2020 - Economy

Amazon launches online pharmacy, prescription delivery service

Picture of tablets outside of orange containers.

Photo: ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy on Tuesday, which will allow U.S. customers to order prescription medications without leaving their homes.

Why it matters via Axios' Dan Primack: With the pharmaceutical business going digital, this could create a major challenge for companies like CVS and Walgreens, whose stocks stumbled this morning after Amazon's announcement.

  • Amazon's jump into the pharmaceutical business, along with its involvement in grocery shopping, could make shoppers replace their shopping needs using Amazon alone, which could potentially affect retailers who also provide pharmacy services, like Walmart and Target.

The big picture: The launch comes as Americans continue to rely on getting medications mailed amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to CNBC, this could become a permanent shift.

Worth noting: We could have seen this coming when Amazon bought mail-order pharmacy startup PillPack in 2018.

  • Amazon said PillPack will continue to serve customers after Amazon Pharmacy launches since it is designed to serve those who take multiple prescriptions for chronic conditions.

Details: Amazon said that most insurance is accepted, but Amazon Prime members can access savings on medications even without insurance.

  • Customers can add their insurance information, manage prescriptions, and choose payment options before checking out, with Prime members receiving unlimited free delivery.
  • Doctors can send prescriptions directly to Amazon Pharmacy for fulfilment.
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