Amazon Launches Online Pharmacy, Shakes Up Healthcare Industry


Amazon made big news last week when it announced the opening of its online pharmacy in a dark twist. The announcement appears to be timed perfectly as of this writing. More than twelve million cases of covid nineteen have been confirmed in the us according to nbc news and the country is averaging close to two hundred thousand new cases a day that adds up to a mammoth need for prescriptions. On top of that fewer and fewer of us want to venture out and those who are sick can't while the news is hardly unexpected amazon. Spent seven hundred fifty million dollars to buy pill pack in two thousand eighteen. That startup specializes in divvying. Up prescriptions into packets intended to make taking multiple prescriptions easier for patients but it was the infrastructure and logistics. That pill packet already built. There was to serve as the foundation for amazon's new online pharmacy business regardless of whether the announcement was expected or not. It's still hit. The healthcare industry hard with observers reacting both positively and negatively amazon says it's pharmacy will accept insurance and payment through flexible spending in health savings accounts. It will adhere to hip a privacy rules around patient data. One of the biggest draws without insurance or prescription drug benefits for prime members. Paying cash amazon is offering huge discounts. Forty percent off on branded drugs and eighty percent off on generics two day shipping is free for prime members others get five days shipping for free but can pay a few bucks to speed it up. Two days. amazon will fulfil most medicines including birth control. But it won't sell schedule two drugs which include but perhaps the biggest innovation is something healthcare consumer have been wanting for a long time a step toward pricing transparency. The retail giant says consumers will be able to compare drug prices at checkout both with insurance. And without you know just like we can with. Tv's books and blue jeans. One caveat drug pricing is a black box and it will still be hard to tell where those prices are actually coming from. The three billion dollar american drug business is highly influenced by pharmacy benefit managers or p. b. m.'s. Middlemen who negotiate prices with manufacturers insurance companies and retailers to get its pharmacy online amazon must navigate these murky waters to as the wall street journal reported amazon's announcement sent ribald stock prices plunging. Cvs drop nine percent. Walgreens boots ten amazon is stalking pharmacies. Now the journals. Charlie grant reported and shareholders are rightly spooked shareholders. See amazon is a threat to these. Retailers dominance as well as to walmart where many patients fill prescriptions. Don't count out. Cbs in the others just yet. However two years ago as amazon was gobbling up hill pack both cvs and walgreens announced same day prescription delivery and in march when the pandemic hit they wave home delivery fees altogether. And here's the other thing is still fill their prescriptions in person. The journal reported. That's a habit that could be hard for amazon. To change the specially among seniors and cbs in particular has been building in more and more reasons for us to walk into their stores namely health clinics most. Cbs is now have clinics on site where you can go for covid tests among other things one can only do in person and yes you got it vaccines. According to see an cvs is gearing up to offer twenty five million covid nineteen vaccinations a month. The first tranche in december depending on fda approvals. We'll go to nursing. But the average person should be able to get the vaccine beginning next february or march. Cbs chief medical officer. Dr troy brennan told cnn. And if you're walking into a brick and mortar pharmacy you'll probably fill your other prescriptions there as well while you buy makeup paper towels and the cat food. You've run out of right. Vaccinations urgent care. Visits are something. The world's biggest digital shopping mall can't compete with at least not now in the future we'll amazon at pharmacies to its whole foods and amazon. Fresh brick and mortar stores. You know that. Cvs and walgreens watching for that additional threat to appear very very closely

Coming up next