WebMD News Brief

Amazon Launches Amazon Pharmacy for Medications

young man looking at prescription pill bottle

Nov. 19, 2020 -- Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy this week, offering home delivery for prescription medications. Amazon Prime members who sign up can receive free delivery and discounts on some drugs.

The store features a range of generic and brand-name drugs, including common prescriptions such as insulin, birth control, metformin for blood sugar control, and sumatriptan for migraines. The service won’t sell Schedule II medications, including common opioids such as OxyContin.

More people are turning to pharmacy curbside pickup and mail delivery options for their medications to avoid exposure to the coronavirus, according to CNBC.

“We wanted to make it easy for people to get their medication, understand the cost, and get it delivered to the home,” T.J. Parker, vice president of pharmacy for Amazon, told CNBC.

In 45 states, people over age 18 can begin to use the pharmacy service this week. Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Minnesota aren’t yet on the list, but Amazon hopes to serve those states in the future, the news outlet reported.

The service will accept most forms of insurance and may have savings for those without insurance as well. Customers may be able to use their health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts to purchase prescriptions on the site.

To sign up, customers create a profile and can add information about their health insurance, medical issues, and regular prescriptions. The site may also ask patients whether they’re pregnant, as well as their birth date and their gender. This information is required by law to provide pharmacy care and confirm prescriptions, CNBC reported.

Doctors can send prescriptions directly to the service, or patients can request a transfer from their current pharmacies. Amazon then verifies whether a prescription is legitimate and not fraudulent.

Customers who have questions can reach a pharmacist or pharmacy technician by phone or through the online portal. The service can also screen for potential drug interactions for those who take multiple medications.

“We think this new benefit will add tremendous value to our members,” Jamil Ghani, vice president of Amazon Prime, told CNBC. “It’s relevant as folks try to do more from the comfort and safety of their homes.”

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

Amazon: “Amazon Pharmacy.”

CNBC: “Amazon jumps into the pharmacy business with online prescription fulfillment, free delivery for Prime members.”

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