Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) has entered a new sector after opening an online pharmacy on Tuesday.
The online behemoth is providing a service to deliver medication and prescription refills to customers, who can order through a secure pharmacy profile, in a couple of days.
The service will begin in the US with prescribed medications, even those that require refrigeration such as insulin, and will not offer formulations that can be abused such as those that contain opioids.
The website will use Pillpack’s infrastructure, which was acquired for US$753mln in 2018, though PillPack remains a distinct service for customers managing multiple daily medications for chronic conditions.
Prime members will be able to access savings on medications at Amazon Pharmacy when paying without insurance, as well as at over 50,000 other participating pharmacies nationwide.
Lots of hype and lots of opportunity for Amazon to lower drug costs, but as is typical, little discussion about the quality of the service to the patient and the positioning of pharmacists to improve outcomes. People forget that pharmacy is meant to drive care, not just pills. https://t.co/yjfJOFwmR0
— Antonio Ciaccia (@A_Ciaccia) November 17, 2020
The news prompted pharmacy chains Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) and CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) to drop 8% to US$40.55 and 3.7% to US$68.38 respectively at open. Meanwhile, Amazon rose 1% to US$3,151.99.
These companies rely on extra purchases such as shampoo or groceries to plump revenues alongside the medicines.
They have all boosted their online capabilities but they are competing with the well-oiled Amazon machine which may be about to disrupt yet another sector.