Amazon has seen record profits during the coronavirus pandemic. Over the summer, the company’s profits soared by around 40%, as many internet-based firms experienced an influx of new customers needing to avoid traditional shopping.
Now, in one of the most ambitious moves the company has made, Amazon has announced that it plans to launch an online pharmacy that will allow customers to order prescription medication online. This will be delivered directly to their homes in a similar way to other products.
How will the service work?
The Amazon Pharmacy feature will be accessible via the Amazon website and app. It will be available to customers in the US only to begin with, and will mean prescription medication can be ordered alongside other household products and groceries.
Amazon Pharmacy will be fully integrated into the website and app. After entering the site, consumers will need to provide information, including the state they live in, as part of a three-step registration process before placing their order.
Prime members will be entitled to free delivery. They will also be eligible for a prescription discount program if they don’t have drug coverage. Amazon says this will make it easier to buy medication conveniently and at the best possible price.
To start with, Minnesota, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, and Hawaii won’t be covered by the service. But, Amazon says it plans to expand to these areas in the near future.
What are Amazon’s plans?
The decision to move into the health industry isn’t a sudden one. Since 2018 when Amazon acquired the mail-order prescription PillPack, the company has been moving towards expanding its online pharmacy business in the US.
In a statement, Doug Herrington, senior vice president of North American Consumer at Amazon said, “As more and more people look to complete everyday errands from home, pharmacy is an important and needed addition to the Amazon online store.”
“PillPack has provided exceptional pharmacy service for individuals with chronic health conditions for over six years. Now, we’re expanding our pharmacy offering to Amazon.com, which will help more customers save time, save money, simplify their lives, and feel healthier.”
Amazon says it wants to make the complex process of getting prescriptions easier for consumers. It also hopes to cut the cost of generic medication by up to 80% and brand name medication by 40% by passing on savings to its customers.