In its latest bid to enter the healthcare industry, Amazon announced a new Prime service on Tuesday that ships “unlimited” generic prescription medication to customers’ doors for $5 a month.
“Amazon today announced RxPass, a new Prime membership benefit from Amazon Pharmacy that offers patients affordable access to commonly prescribed generic medications that treat more than 80 common health conditions,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday. “With RxPass, Prime members can receive all of their eligible medications for one flat, low monthly fee of $5, and have them delivered free of charge.”
Anyone can use Amazon’s pharmacy, but RxPass will be exclusively available to Prime members. Regardless of whether a patient needs medication every month, they will have to pay the fee to continue their access to the program. “So another monthly charge? Even when we don’t get meds every month?” wrote one Twitter user. “HARD PASS.”
“Why isn’t this included with Prime?” another asked in response to a Tweet by Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. “My current mail pharmacy delivers for free.”
This is Amazon’s latest venture into healthcare. The company announced last July that it had acquired One Medical, a technology-focused primary care provider with less than 200 offices in the country, for $3.9 billion. That deal is yet to officially close.
“The opportunity to transform health care and improve outcomes by combining One Medical’s human-centered and technology-powered model and exceptional team with Amazon’s customer obsession, history of invention, and willingness to invest in the long-term is so exciting,” said Amir Dan Rubin, One Medical CEO, at the time.
Amazon Pharmacy launched in 2020, offering a range of common medications to Prime subscribers using its one- or two-day delivery. With RxPass, Amazon says subscribers with insurance and prescriptions can get their monthly medications for a flat fee. If you don’t have insurance, Amazon says it still offers discounts on generic and brand-name medications of 80 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Those on Medicare or Medicaid are not eligible for RxPass, and neither are users in states with specific requirements on prescription drug deliveries like California, Texas, and Washington. The service is available in most other states, however.
“Any customer who pays more than $10 a month for their eligible medications will see their prescription costs drop by 50% or more, plus they save time by skipping a trip to the pharmacy,” said John Love, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy.
You can search for medications on Amazon’s website either by medication or by condition. The site offers over 50 generic prescription drugs, including sertraline, the antidepressant more commonly known by the brand name Zoloft, and sildenafil, or generic Viagra.
As of now, it’s entirely possible that a section of Americans will not only buy books and electronics on Amazon, but do their grocery shopping at an Amazon-owned business, go to an Amazon-owned doctor, and get their prescriptions from Amazon.