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Amazon adds generic prescription perk for Prime members

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The Amazon Pharmacy home screen on a laptop pc arranged within the Brooklyn Borough of Recent York, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon on Tuesday announced a recent prescription perk for U.S. Prime members, hoping to spice up subscriptions and attract users to its pharmacy service.

The add-on, called RxPass, will allow Prime members to get as many drugs as they need from an inventory of fifty generic medications to treat greater than 80 common chronic conditions, resembling hypertension, anxiety and diabetes. The service costs $5 a month per person, and delivery is free.

Amazon has pushed deeper into health care in recent times. The corporate launched its own online pharmacy in 2020, a service that was born out of its acquisition of PillPack in 2018. Amazon introduced, then shuttered, a telehealth service called Amazon Care, and announced in July it might acquire boutique primary care provider One Medical.

Amazon also offers a Prime prescription savings profit, which offers a reduction of as much as 80% on generic medications and as much as 40% on brand-name prescriptions.

Amazon is beefing up perks for its Prime subscription program as CEO Andy Jassy looks to chop costs elsewhere in the corporate. Amazon has eyed shedding about 18,000 employees, while it froze hiring in its corporate workforce and axed some projects. Still, Jassy has said Amazon intends to maintain pursuing long-term opportunities, including health care.

The e-retailer faces competition in pharmacy from the likes of CVS, Walgreens and Walmart. Amazon hasn’t said how its online pharmacy offering has fared since launch. An August report from Morgan Stanley found Amazon Pharmacy didn’t rank as a top perk for Prime members, based on a survey of users, based on Business Insider.

Amazon’s chief medical officer Vin Gupta said the corporate is aiming to deliver a pharmacy experience that’s “fundamentally different” from how pharmacies have existed during the last several a long time.

“This continues to be day one for us where we’re at our starting stages here, but we recognize that change is required,” Gupta said in an interview. “That is what patients across the country are telling us, and that is what Amazon is responding to.”

RxPass doesn’t offer insulin or specialty medications, and it isn’t available for people on Medicaid or Medicare. Gupta declined to say whether Amazon will expand the list of medicines offered through RxPass in the long run.

Roughly 150 million individuals are on a minimum of considered one of the medications included within the initial RxPass formulary, he said.

— CNBC’s Bertha Coombs contributed to this text.

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