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Amazon Seeks to Bring Convenience to Pharmacy Customers

Amazon’s business model is based on giving customers what they want when they want it. One area that the company thinks this model can work, is the retail pharmacy industry, which Amazon is convinced it can shakeup. 

One way of shaking up that sector, Amazon believes, is by making pharmacy work like other categories across the company. To that end, the company announced the launch of two new prescription services. 

New features

The tech company launched Amazon Prime prescription savings benefit, which allows Prime members to search for their medications and compare costs at Amazon Pharmacy 

Amazon pointed out that a national survey had shown that only 11 percent of customers shopped online for better prices when faced with higher than anticipated costs for their prescriptions.

Amazon explained that customers will use a secure pharmacy profile where they can add their insurance information, manage prescriptions, and choose payment options before checking out. Prime members receive unlimited, free two-day delivery on orders from Amazon Pharmacy included with their membership.

Furthermore, Amazon said Prime members can access savings on medications at Amazon Pharmacy when paying without insurance.

With the savings feature, customers also can now check their insurance co-pay price before ordering medication on Amazon Pharmacy.

Bringing convenience

TJ Parker, Vice President, Amazon Pharmacy explained that: “We’re going to continue on this path to invest to make pharmacy more and more Amazon-like with a focus on the convenience of the product, lower prices, and broadening the selection of options. So using the Amazon playbook and applying those principles to the pharmacy.”

In a blog post, Amazon announced that it was introducing two new features that make it easier for customers to find and compare the expected price of their medication. The tech giant hopes the tools will give customers more ways to save money on their prescription medication purchases.

Amazon explained that with the Amazon Prime prescription savings benefit, Prime members can search for their medication and compare savings at Amazon Pharmacy and other retail pharmacies where the Prime savings card is accepted. The scheme has more than 60,000 participating pharmacies across the country, which allows customers to browse prices on prescription medications from their local pharmacy or order online with free two-day delivery from Amazon Pharmacy. 

And with that, Amazon has previously made a big promise by saying filling prescriptions will now be as convenient as any other purchase on Amazon’s online store. Some of what they are offering includes

  • Research medications and order confidently: The same browsing experience customers are familiar with from Amazon makes it easy to discover what medications – including branded and generic versions, and different forms or dosages – are available through Amazon Pharmacy. Before checking out customers can compare their insurance co-pay, the price without insurance or the available savings with the new Prime prescription savings benefit to choose their lowest price option.
  • Seamless transactions: Customers can add insurance information and ask their prescriber to send new or existing prescriptions directly to Amazon Pharmacy for fulfillment. Purchase is as simple as confirming the request on the Amazon App or website.
  • Access fully digital, personalized quality care: Customers have online self-service help options combined with phone access to customer care at any time. Friendly and knowledgeable pharmacists are available 24/7 to answer questions about medications.

Shaking up the healthcare industry

Amazon has been looking to shake up the healthcare industry for a while now and the convenience it offers could have competitors worried.

In 2018, Amazon announced its entry into the retail pharmacy sector with the acquisition of Pillpack, an online pharmacy, for $1 billion.

In 2020, Amazon partnered with health information technology developer Cerner to bring cloud-based health tracking services to its electronic health record customers. People using Amazon’s Halo wristband service and smartphone app to monitor their health metrics can now export that data directly to Cerner’s electronic health record system to share with healthcare providers.

Amazon Web Services last year announced that they will be providing information security (infosec) solutions for the healthcare industry.

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