Amazon launches $5 a month prescription drug scheme as it moves further into healthcare

Top Line

Amazon on Tuesday announced a new prescription drug program offering many drugs to customers for one flat fee, the online retailer’s latest salvo in a bid to lure customers away from drugstores as the big tech… Players advance in the healthcare sector.

important facts

The online retailer announced that RxPass will allow US Prime members to fill as many prescriptions as they need from a list of more than 50 generic drugs and have them delivered for free.

The service will cost $5 per month on top of a Prime subscription, which currently sits at $14.99 per month or $139 per year, excluding sales tax and discounts for students and those receiving government aid.

Amazon said the service will cover drugs used to treat more than 80 common conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety and acid reflux.

The list of covered drugs includes the antibiotics amoxicillin and doxycycline, the antifungal nystatin, the blood pressure drug losartan and the anti-inflammatory naproxen.

It also includes a range of generic drugs used to treat mental health disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, including the antidepressants sertraline, venlafaxine, escitalopram and bupropion (brand names Zoloft, Effexor, Lexapro and Wellbutrin, respectively) and the antipsychotics quetiapine. Risperidone (sold under the brand names Seroquel and Risperdal).

The erectile dysfunction remedy sildenafil, widely known under the brand name Viagra and used to treat a form of high blood pressure, also made the list, as did finasteride (sold under the brand name Propecia). is) and dutasteride, drugs used primarily to treat enlarged prostate that are also prescribed to combat male hair loss (the FDA has not authorized dutasteride for this purpose but it is prescribed off-label) Is).

main background

Amazon has immense ambition in healthcare and is investing heavily in the sector to make it a reality. The e-commerce giant announced itself as a competitor to brick-and-mortar pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid when it launched its own online pharmacy in 2020. The firm is also expanding into other areas of healthcare including telehealth, mental health. and is working through a nearly $4 billion deal to acquire primary care and healthcare provider One Medical. Amazon isn’t the only tech giant that has begun to foray into the health sector. Microsoft, Google parent Alphabet and Apple have all had bold visions for healthcare and are spending billions to make them a reality.

tangent line

Amazon says it wants to help Americans save time and money and stay healthier, and the retailer is attempting to retain Prime customers after raising its prices last year. The initiative may not help expand its Prime user base, as Amazon already sells a wide range of generic drugs through its online pharmacy. Some listed under the plan — such as folic acid to treat anemia, or blood clots, biotin to treat skin conditions and glipizide to treat diabetes — cost $2 or less for a 30-day supply. . Amazon is not the only company taking advantage of cheap generic drugs. The firm faces competition from companies such as Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company, which is selling a wide range of generic drugs without the need to subscribe to a comprehensive service.

big number

150 million. Amazon estimates how many Americans take one or more of the drugs available through its RxPass plan.

Complete list

Amazon has listed the following medicines under the RxPass scheme.

  • allopurinol
  • amlodipine
  • amoxicillin
  • atorvastatin
  • azelastine
  • benztropine
  • biotin
  • bupropion
  • cephalexin
  • cyclobenzaprine
  • Cyproheptadine
  • donepezil
  • Doxazosin
  • doxepin
  • doxycycline
  • dutasteride
  • escitalopram
  • estradiol
  • finasteride
  • Fluticasone
  • folic acid
  • furosemide
  • glipizide
  • glyburide
  • Hyoscyamine
  • lamotrigine
  • lisinopril
  • losartan
  • methimazole
  • mometasone
  • naproxen
  • nystatin
  • omeprazole
  • ondansetron
  • oxybutynin
  • phenytoin
  • piroxicam
  • pramipexole
  • quetiapine
  • Ramipril
  • risperidone
  • rizatriptan
  • ropinirole
  • rosuvastatin
  • sertraline
  • sildenafil
  • simvastatin
  • sotalol
  • tamoxifen citrate
  • terazosin
  • Tizanidine
  • venlafaxine
  • vitamin b12

further studies

Amazon’s creep into health care scares some experts (Wired)

Tech companies still finding their way into healthcare lane (The Verge)

Amazon’s health ambitions sometimes clash with medical best practices, nurses say (Washington Post)

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