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Amazon debuts coupons for pharmacy customers

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Amazon Pharmacy customers can automatically receive manufacturers’ coupons.

Amazon is offering customers a new way to save money on prescription medication.

The e-tail giant is now automatically applying manufacturer-sponsored coupons directly to Amazon Pharmacy orders from eligible customers. Amazon is working with pharmaceutical manufacturers GSK, Kaléo, Novo Nordisk, and Dexcom to integrate coupons for their brand-name medications directly into checkout on the Amazon Pharmacy website and app.

Amazon Pharmacy will automatically apply these coupons at checkout when eligible. Customers will not need to perform any clipping, clicking, or downloading.

Eligible coupons and medications must work in connection with a customer’s insurance plan, and cannot be used in addition with other Amazon Pharmacy savings plans. Customers who are eligible to receive benefits from any state or federal health care program, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or Medicare Part D, cannot currently use manufacturer-sponsored coupons on Amazon.

In January 2023, Amazon Pharmacy launched RxPass, a new offering for U.S. Prime Members. The plan allows Prime members in most states to order as many prescriptions as they need from a list of some 50 generic drugs — for a flat monthly add-on fee of $5 to Prime membership, with no other mark-ups. The available medications, which will be delivered free of charge, treat more than 80 common health conditions, including high blood pressure, acid reflux and diabetes.

“We at Amazon Pharmacy are hopeful that this new feature will both improve the patient experience and connect people with more affordable access to the medicines they need to better manage their health,” Dr. Vin Gupta, chief medical officer, Amazon Pharmacy, said in a corporate blog post. “We will continue to add more coupon selection over time, helping more patients save time and money.”

Prescription medication is big business

Prescription medication is a $300 billion-plus market that is dominated by pharmacy giants such as CVS Health, Walgreens and Rite Aid, along with supermarkets and discounters that offer prescriptions, such as Walmart.

In addition, Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and co-star of the TV show “Shark Tank,’ launched an online pharmacy with an initial inventory of more than 100 generic drugs, the Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug (MCCPDC) Company, in January 2022.

The cash pay pharmacy's prices reflect actual manufacturer prices plus a flat 15% margin and a $3 pharmacist fee, with prescription fulfillment and delivery through a partnership with digital healthcare company Truepill.

Amazon moves into pharmacy, healthcare

Amazon has been active in the healthcare space in general, and the pharmacy vertical in particular, in the past few years. In addition to launching Amazon Pharmacy in November 2020, the company acquired online pharmacy startup PillPack in 2018. Now known as PillPack by Amazon, it specializes in delivering presorted dose packaging for managing multiple daily medications for chronic conditions. 

In other healthcare moves, in July 2022, Amazon entered into an agreement to acquire One Medical, a membership-based primary healthcare provider, for $3.9 billion, its third-biggest acquisition to date. The San Francisco-based healthcare startup offers a combination of in-person, digital and virtual care services, promising members “24/7 access to virtual care.”

And in November 2022, the e-tailer rolled out its new Amazon Clinic virtual healthcare solution in 32 states. Amazon Clinic provides virtual care for more than 20 common health conditions, such as allergies, acne, and hair loss.

In a statement at the time of the July 2022 One Medical acquisition, Neil Lindsay, senior VP of Amazon Health Services, said that Amazon believes “health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention.”

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