Amazon launches a subscription prescription drug service

Amazon is adding a prescription drug discount program to its growing healthcare business.
The retail giant said . Tuesday it will launch RxPass, a subscription service for customers . Who have a Prime membership. Amazon says people will pay $5 a month to fill as many prescriptions as they need from a list of about 50 generic drugs. Which are usually cheaper versions of brand-name drugs.
The agency said the flat fee could cover a list of drugs such as. The antibiotic amoxicillin and the anti-inflammatory drug naproxen.
Sildenafil also made the list. It is used to treat erectile dysfunction under the brand name . Viagra and also treats a form of high blood pressure.
Amazon sells a range of generic drugs through its pharmacy service. Some already cost as little as $1 for a 30-day supply, so the benefits of this new program will vary by customer.
The program does not use insurance. And people with government-funded Medicaid or Medicare coverage are not eligible. It will be available in 42 states and Washington, DC at launch.
Any program that gets lower-cost generic drugs to more patients is “a good thing,” said Karen Van Nuys. An economist who studies drug pricing at the University of Southern California. But he added that he’s not sure how much of an impact RxPass will have.
He noted that the program is limited to Amazon Prime customers. Other options, such as Mark Cuban CostPlus Drug Company, sell more generic drugs, many for under $5.
“I don’t know that it’s expanding access to a new set of patients,” Van Nuys said.
Still, this move could help the company take some more. Ground in the healthcare market, although it hasn’t always succeeded in its goals. Last year, the company shut down its hybrid virtual, in-home care service called . Amazon Care after it failed to gain traction with employers. And Haven, a company Amazon created in collaboration with. JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway to improve health care costs, dissolved a year earlier.
Amazon said its online drugstore . Amazon Pharmacy is a key part of its healthcare plan. With primary care company One Medical, which the online giant is looking to get for $3.9 billion. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the proposed buy.
In November, the company also. Said it would begin offering “Amazon Clinic,” a messaging service . That connects patients with doctors for about. Two dozen common conditions, such as allergies and hair loss.

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