Amazon launches online pharmacy, shares of Wallgreens, CVS drop

Seattle, WA: Inc. has said that customers can buy prescription medications through a new store on its platform, a move that expands the e-commerce giant’s presence in health care and further encroaches on the turf of traditional retailers.

Amazon Prime members are eligible for free two-day delivery and discounts of up to 80% on generic medicines and 40% on prescribed brand-name drugs. Doctors can send prescriptions directly to Amazon Pharmacy, currently available in the US only, or patients can request a transfer from their existing retailer.

Amazon’s play to further enter the pharmacy space comes about two years after the company acquired pharmaceutical company PillPack Inc., and coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has kept many consumers at home more often and resorting to online ordering.

Consumer healthcare stocks of companies like GoodRx, Walgreens and CVS were dipping Tuesday on news that Amazon has finally launched its integrated pharmacy service.

Amazon has been steadily encroaching on pharmacy businesses in the same way the company has moved into grocery delivery and everyday consumer staples.

Since its acquisition of PillPack in 2018, Amazon has been adding additional pharmaceutical and healthcare services. It launched its own over-the-counter drugs in 2019, and rolled out a healthcare network for its employees — Amazon Care for its workers in Seattle.

In August, Amazon launched its fitness tracker, Halo. The personal health and wellness monitoring and advice service includes a $64.99 wrist tracker and an application suite for monitoring health.

As TechCrunch noted, the service includes more than the standard health-tracking gadget/app combo, by taking a comprehensive look at various measures of health, including body fat percentage, as measured at home with just your smartphone’s own camera and the Amazon Halo app.


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