On Monday, Amazon.com, Inc. announced the opening of a new Amazon store that will allow users to purchase medications for home delivery. The press release explained that users can access Amazon Pharmacy with a “secure” pharmacy profile, can upload their insurance information, manage prescriptions, and choose how they want to pay.
The web-based pharmacy will offer users the ability to research medications using “[t]he same browsing experience customers are familiar with from Amazon.” With “convenient and reliable access,” customers will be able to compare branded and generic medications, medication price with and without insurance, and will have round-the-clock access to pharmacists who can answer questions, the press release stated.
TJ Parker, Amazon Pharmacy Vice President, explained that “[w]e designed Amazon Pharmacy to put customers first – bringing Amazon’s customer obsession to an industry that can be inconvenient and confusing.” Doug Herrington, the Senior Vice President of North American Consumer at Amazon remarked that “[a]s more and more people look to complete everyday errands from home, pharmacy is an important and needed addition to the Amazon online store.”
Customers can also ask their provider to send new or existing prescriptions to Amazon Pharmacy for fulfillment. Additionally, subscribers of Amazon Prime, Amazon’s a paid-for upgrade service, will receive other benefits like unlimited, two-day shipping.
Amazon is also rolling out savings for the uninsured. “The Amazon Prime prescription savings benefit saves members up to 80% off generic and 40% off brand name medications when paying without insurance,” the company announced.
The online pharmacy is said to be Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant and “does not share Protected Health Information outside of the pharmacy for advertising or marketing purposes without clear permission from the customer.” The announcement also stated that Amazon Pharmacy will not deliver Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule II medications, which includes most opioids.
The announcement comes after Amazon acquired Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to use delivery drones. One prototype Amazon has unveiled is a fully electric hexagonal-shaped drone that can carry as much as 5lbs.