Amazon To Launch Prescription Drug Service For Prime Members

(Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP) (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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Online retail giant Amazon announced it will be launching a prescription drug service program for Prime Members on Tuesday, expanding their foray into the healthcare business.

Though Amazon already sells an array of generic drugs through a pharmacy program, this program, called RxPass, will allow Prime members to fill as many prescriptions as they need from a list of 50 generic medications for a $5 a month fee, the Associated Press reported.

“It’s estimated that more than 150 million Americans take one or more of the medications available through the RxPass monthly subscription. RxPass is our latest effort to help patients save time, save money, and stay healthy,” Amazon said of the program.

Given that some generic drugs purchased through Amazon already cost $1 for a 30-day supply, the benefits of this new program will vary per consumer, the AP reported.

Karen Van Nuys, an economist at the University of Southern California, believes making low-cost drugs available to more patients is a “good thing” but voiced concerns over the limitations Amazon has placed on the program by only making it available for Prime customers. “I just don’t know that it’s expanding access to a new set of patients,” Van Nuys told the outlet. (RELATED: Health Care Costs Are An Urgent Problem, But Price Transparency Is Not The Solution, Two Health Industry Professionals Say)

Amazon is hopeful the service will help the company gain a larger place in the healthcare business, calling its online drug store, Amazon Pharmacy, a key part of its healthcare plan, the AP reported. Amazon is also looking to acquire One Medical, a primary care organization that offers virtual care as well as in-person visits for patients for $3.9 billion. Amazon’s acquisition of the organization is pending approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to Healthcare Finance News.

RxPass will not be available to people with government-funded Medicaid or Medicare coverage and the discount program does not accept insurance, the AP reported. When it launches it will be available for Prime Members in 42 states and Washington, D.C.