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Amazon expands same-day pharmacy delivery

Amazon Pharmacy is delivering prescriptions by methods including drone.
Amazon is delivering prescription medications by methods including drone.

Consumers in the two biggest U.S. metro markets can now have medications delivered from Amazon Pharmacy within hours.

Customers in New York City and greater Los Angeles who need prescription medication to manage flu, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other common conditions can now get their medications delivered to their door within hours via Amazon Pharmacy.

Amazon Pharmacy has launched same-day delivery of prescription medication in New York City and the greater Los Angeles area, with plans to expand the service to more than a dozen U.S. cities by the end of the year. 

Customers in Austin, Indianapolis, Miami, Phoenix and Seattle already have existing access to Amazon Pharmacy same-day delivery, while customers in College Station, Texas, can get their medications delivered in under an hour via drone.

Amazon Pharmacy is using new small-format facilities, stocked with the most common prescription medications for acute conditions, to get medications closer to where customers live. 

For example, Amazon Pharmacy’s new small-format facility in Brooklyn, N.Y. carries a subset of the more than 12,000 medications available from, with a focus on supporting urgent-care needs. The pharmacist and fulfillment team at the site can process a prescription within a matter of minutes rather than hours or days, according to Amazon.

Prescription delivery mechanisms will vary by metro area, such as e-bikes in Manhattan or Rivian electric vans in greater Los Angeles and other suburban areas. To support prescription medication drone delivery, Amazon Pharmacy and Prime Air co-created a new fulfillment process. 

The pharmacy and fulfillment center are connected, allowing the pharmacy team to clinically evaluate a new prescription, dispense the medication, and hand over a single package for a drone to deliver in less than an hour in some cases. 

Artificial intelligence helps fulfill same-day prescription delivery

Amazon is using generative AI and machine learning (ML) technology to help pharmacists fill prescriptions more quickly and accurately. For example, when handwritten or online prescriptions come in, Amazon’s AI models undertake a series of fact-checking tasks designed to help ensure pharmacists receive clear and accurate information.

According to Amazon, AI can streamline prescription fulfillment prep work that historically would take hours down to minutes or even seconds and reduce administrative errors.

At larger sites as well as new small-format pharmacies, robotic arms assist in filling, labeling, and sending prescriptions for pharmacist inspection in as few as 30 seconds (manually it would take handlers at least three minutes).

“The current pharmacy experience is broken, with patients facing long pharmacy lines and unexpected prices at the counter,” said Dr. Vin Gupta, chief medical officer, Amazon Pharmacy “Amazon Pharmacy is tapping its world-class logistics network, along with a variety of cutting-edge technologies, to change that.”

"By bringing Amazon Pharmacy’s deliveries into our existing world-class logistics network, Amazon is building the fastest and most convenient service for the home delivery of prescription medications," said Doug Herrington, CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores. "These faster delivery speeds will be a game changer when you or your family need your medications quickly."

Amazon moves into pharmacy, healthcare with diabetes focus

Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy, which allows U.S. customers to order prescription medications for home delivery, with free two-day delivery for Amazon Prime members, in November 2020. The offering represented a major push by Amazon into a $300 billion market that was previously dominated by pharmacy giants such as CVS Health, Walgreens and Rite Aid, along with supermarkets and discounters that offer prescriptions, such as Walmart. 

Recently, Amazon Pharmacy began offering U.S. home delivery of select medications through the LillyDirect online portal of global pharmaceutical provider Lilly.

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