Introducing Amazon Pharmacy

November 23rd 2020



Arpitha Vinod

You can order literally anything off of Amazon, but did you know that now you can have your prescriptions delivered to your house via Amazon as well? That’s right- your days of going to in person pharmacies are over since now this multi-billion dollar online service has you adding your own medications to your cart.

On November 19th, Amazon officially launched Amazon Pharmacy, allowing customers to order their prescription medications to be delivered to their doorsteps. The benefits are even more far-reaching for Amazon Prime members , where the two-day delivery is free and medication costs are less.

Currently, only people above the age of eighteen are allowed to use this service, and it is available everywhere in the United States except for Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Illinois, and Minnesota. Customers can directly build their pharmacy profile and input their insurance information to set up their account. Before customers can order for the first time, personal questions will be asked to confirm their prescriptions. Doctors can then send their prescriptions directly to Amazon Pharmacy, but fear not as Amazon has tools to detect potential fraud regarding physician legitimacy. Users are also provided with “self-service help” tools, where they can speak to a real pharmacist over the phone for advice regarding their medications.

“We wanted to make it easy for people to get their medication, understand the cost, and get it delivered to their home”, said Amazon’s Vice President of Pharmacy, TJ Parker. He was also previously the co-founder of PillPack, the original online pharmacy which was bought by Amazon in 2018. Amazon Pharmacy is built mostly with PillPack’s infrastructure, following its pharmacy software, fulfillment centers, and relationship with health plans.

However, not everything is fun and games since the launch of Amazon Pharmacy threatens other big pharmacy markets such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. Stocks in those companies dropped significantly after Amazon’s big launch- CVS shares dropped by 8.6% and Rite Aid shares dropped 16.2%. However, online pharmacy services are projected to reach revenues of $131 billion globally.

Nonetheless, even Amazon Pharmacy has its limits . While they will be supplying a mix of generic and brand-name drugs, birth control, and other commonly prescribed drugs, Amazon cannot deliver Schedule II controlled medications, such as opioids. They also will not be supplying vitamins and supplements, and cannot do their normal user-specific advertising. “The information and experience you have inside the pharmacy is separate and distinct from the experience that you have on,” Parker said. This is because a key component of Amazon is its immaculate advertising, which cannot be done in the same way when prescribing medicine.

With the coronavirus pandemic, many people around the world have been relying heavily on Amazon and other online shopping services. Did Amazon Pharmacy launch at the right time? Maybe in the future, all of our medications will have an Amazon logo slapped onto them too.