Lifestyle

Amazon launches $5 a month unlimited prescription plan




New York
CNN

Amazon is expanding its efforts into healthcare with a $5 monthly unlimited shipping card for 60 common prescription drugs that treat allergies, inflammation, high blood pressure, and other common ailments. other status.

Amazon announces new delivery service,

RXPass
, on Tuesday, and it will launch immediately in most states except California, Texas, Minnesota, and others with specific prescription delivery requirements. Customers who are enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid or any other government health care program will not be able to apply for benefits.

Healthcare analysts and economists say the program has the potential to save customers money on low-priced generic drugs but won’t affect the price of expensive brand-name drugs. more, which drives the bulk of US prescription drug spending. They also expect Amazon to lose money on the service but see other benefits.

The $5-a-month shipping card is an add-on to Amazon Prime, Amazon’s $139 annual program, and is available exclusively to Prime subscribers regardless of their insurance status.

Amazon has long offered Prime prescription savings benefits for discounts on generic and brand-name drugs. The company says its new joint distribution program is aimed at customers who take multiple prescriptions to manage chronic conditions and pay for the out-of-pocket costs of their drugs.

Some of the generic drugs included in the plan include Bupropion, Cephalexin, Doxycycline, Estradiol, and Sertaline.

Evercore analyst Elizabeth Anderson said that although generics account for about 86% of all US prescriptions by 2022, they represent only 20% of prescription drug spending.

“Amazon’s new program generics make up 32% of all generics in 2021 and are likely to be Amazon’s loss-making leader,” she said, calling it a “pharmaceutical trial.” increase” for the company.

She said Amazon has focused its efforts on generics because it is difficult to compete with health insurers and other players in brand-name and specialty drugs.

Sean Nicholson, director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration at Cornell University, believes Amazon is introducing a generic drug program to increase Prime membership subscriptions, forcing customers to turn to Amazon for branded drugs. more profitable and make them spend more on other products when they use the program.

Amazon’s new plan means consumers can see lower costs on some generic drugs, Nicholson said. But “it won’t do much, if anything, to reduce spending on drugs that don’t face general competition.”

RXPass is Amazon’s latest move to attract more healthcare spending from customers.

The company buy online pharmacy PillPack in 2018, launched its own Amazon Pharmacy in 2020, and last year launched a virtual healthcare clinic. The company last year also agree to buy One Medical, a primary care provider, for $3.9 billion. That deal is pending regulatory approval.

— CNN’s Tami Luhby contributed to this article.

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