Amazon Pharmacy Introduces RxPass Generic Drug Subscription Service

The Amazon Pharmacy service will also have pharmacists on-call 24/7, according to the announcement.

Amazon Pharmacy has announced RxPass, a $5 subscription service for Prime members who take multiple eligible generic medications.1

The program is an effort to address financial challenges associated with taking multiple medications. Nearly half of adults take 2 or more medications each day, and 25% of adults say they struggle to afford necessary medications, according to the press release.1

“Over the last decade as a practicing pulmonologist, I have seen patients with chronic diseases struggle to get access to the basic medications they need to live their lives well,” said Vin Gupta, MD, chief medical officer at Amazon Pharmacy, in the press release. “Navigating insurance can be a maze and getting to the pharmacy a burden. Sometimes that has led to poor outcomes: new medications don’t get filled, refills don’t get picked up, and patients suffer. Aspects of our health care system make what should be easy, difficult.”1

Under the program, Prime members can receive all eligible generic medications for $5 each per month, including free delivery. The subscription includes more than 50 generic drugs for more than 80 common conditions, including high blood pressure, anxiety, and acid reflux, according to a press release.1

Amazon Pharmacy works with most insurance plans and has 30-, 90- and 6-month supply options. Pharmacists are on-call 24/7 to work with prescribers and insurance plans, and medications can be automatically refilled. All medications require a valid prescription, and the $5 monthly flat fee is an add-on to Amazon Prime membership.2

RxPass eligibility is restricted based on insurance and in some states. Individuals with government-funded insurance, such as Medicare or Medicaid, are not currently eligible for RxPass, and medications cannot currently be shipped to California, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, although Amazon Pharmacy is still available in those states.3

“It’s estimated that more than 150 million Americans take 1 or more of the medications available through the RxPass monthly subscription,” Gupta said in the press release. “RxPass is our latest effort to help patients save time, save money, and stay healthy.”1

This announcement follows the launch of Amazon Pharmacy in 2020, which allows customers to complete their pharmacy transaction online in a secure pharmacy profile. PillPack, purchased by Amazon in 2018, is a distinct service for patients with multiple daily medications, and particularly older adults or those with chronic conditions.4

Discounted generic prescription programs are not new, with existing programs such as GoodRx and Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs company, launched in 2022. However, some experts have expressed concerns about Amazon’s expansion into health care. A recent survey shows that 52% of health tech experts believe that Amazon will be the most significant threat to health systems’ core business in 2023. According to the report, respondents speculated that Amazon could be interested in acquiring companies such as Walgreens, Smile Digital Health, and potentially an insurer.5

REFERENCES

  1. Introducing RxPass from Amazon Pharmacy, a $5 prescription subscription that helps Prime members who take multiple medications save time and money. News release. Amazon; January 24, 2023. Accessed January 24, 2023. https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/retail/introducing-rxpass-from-amazon-pharmacy-a-5-prescription-subscription-that-helps-prime-members-who-take-multiple-medications-save-time-and-money
  2. Amazon Pharmacy: How It Works. Accessed January 24, 2023. https://pharmacy.amazon.com/how-it-works
  3. Amazon Pharmacy: RxPass. Accessed January 24, 2023. https://pharmacy.amazon.com/rxpass#all-rxpass-meds
  4. Antrim A. Amazon Launches Amazon Pharmacy, Prescription Delivery Service. Pharmacy Times; November 17, 2020. Accessed January 24, 2023. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/amazon-launches-amazon-pharmacy-prescription-delivery-service
  5. Diaz N. Amazon will be the biggest threat to health systems’ core business: Survey. Becker’s Hospital Review; January 4, 2023. Accessed January 24, 2023. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/disruptors/amazon-will-be-the-biggest-threat-to-health-systems-core-business-survey.html
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