Amazon adds a prescription drug discount program to its growing healthcare business.
The online retailer announced on Tuesday that it will launch RxPass, a subscription service for customers with Prime memberships. Amazon said users would pay as little as $5 a month for as many prescriptions as they needed from a list of about 50 generic drugs, which are often cheaper than brand-name drugs.
He said the flat fee would cover a list of drugs ranging from amoxicillin, an antibiotic, to naproxen, an anti-inflammatory.
Sildenafil is also on the list. It is used under the brand name Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction and is also prescribed for a type of high blood pressure.
Amazon sells an extensive list of generics through its pharmacy service. Some cost as little as one dollar for a 30-day supply, so the benefits of this new program will vary by customer.
The new plan is not linked to health insurance and will not be available to people with government-funded Medicaid or Medicare coverage. It will be available in 42 states and Washington, D.C. at launch
Any program that gives low-cost generic drugs to more patients is “a positive thing,” said Karen Van Nuys, an economist who studies drug pricing at the University of Southern California.
Still, the move could help the company gain a bigger foothold in the healthcare market, an area in which it hasn’t always been successful. Last year it shuttered its hybrid home and virtual care service Amazon Care after failing to attract interest from firms. And Haven, a company he formed with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway to reform health care costs, dissolved a year ago.