Amazon is expanding its health-care options with a new $5 monthly subscription that allows unlimited delivery of 60 generic prescription drugs.
- The new service, RXPass, will be available in most states except California, Texas, Minnesota, and others where regulations prevent the service.
- Those participating in Medicare, Medicaid, or other government health-care assistance programs are not eligible for the program.
- While RXPass can save customers some money on generic drugs, it won’t provide much relief for brand-name drugs that make up most prescription spending.
- Amazon will likely lose money on the program—but the company expects to see other benefits, CNN reports.
- RXPass is an add-on to Amazon’s existing Amazon Prime program.
Why it’s news
While generic drugs take up 85% of the prescription market, they account for only 20% of overall drug spending, CNN reports. Amazon has chosen to focus its program on generic drugs because there will be less competition from health insurers and other companies that provide generic drugs.
Less expensive medication will undoubtedly be helpful to consumers, but the program has the added benefit of increasing Amazon’s Prime memberships. To partake in the RXPass program, customers must also be Prime members.
Amazon’s latest move into the health-care industry will draw some customers away from other drug providers, but it won’t likely bring down drug prices very much. Generic drugs could become less expensive with more competitors in the market, but drugs without a generic competitor will stay the same, CNN reports.
Backing up a bit
The retail giant that offers nearly every item at your fingertips has just added another service—health care. Amazon Clinic will now be available to help connect customers with healthcare professionals for needs ranging from acne solutions to hair loss.
This is Amazon’s latest effort to branch into the health-care field. Already the company has its own pharmacy and is working to acquire 1Life Healthcare. The clinic is branded as a “virtual health storefront,” according to Amazon’s blog post. No partners in the venture have yet been announced. Amazon Clinic cannot accept insurance and is available in 32 U.S. states.
This latest venture into the health-care field will allow patients to select their condition, choose a provider, and fill out an intake questionnaire online. Patients are then connected to a healthcare provider through Amazon Clinic’s portal.
The initiative marks another attempt for the company to enter the health-care field. Last year, Amazon attempted to purchase Signify Health, a home health services company. Though that attempt was unsuccessful, Amazon appears undeterred.
Amazon previously launched Amazon Care, a way for the company to provide health care services, but the initiative appears unsuccessful as Amazon is phasing out the project.