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CVS takes on Amazon Prime with membership program


CVS Pharmacy is looking to expand its appeal to millennials while also making a defensive move against Amazon as the online giant becomes more aggressive in health care.

CVS is expanding its CarePass program nationwide after testing it in the Boston area and other select markets. Described as the first membership rewards program to offer free national pharmacy delivery, CarePass has a $5 monthly membership fee, or a discounted annual fee of $48. Members receive free one-to-two day delivery on qualifying prescriptions and other purchases on along with a 20% discount on CVS-branded items, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements and personal care items and a monthly $10 promotional coupon.

In addition, CarePass members have access 24/7 to a pharmacist helpline. The pharmacist will hace access to customers’ prescription history and be able to answer questions about their medications on-demand.

The results of the pilot showed that CarePass appeals to a broad consumer audience, 20% of whom are millennials, according to CVS. The program has resulted in a 15-20% average increase in purchases after a member joins.

"Initial customer response has exceeded our expectations with members utilizing the program's full benefits and becoming more engaged across all of our digital offerings,” said Kevin Hourican, executive VP, CVS Health and president, CVS Pharmacy. "We are thrilled to expand CarePass nationally, bringing simplified value to our customer while making it easier for them to care for themselves and their families.”

The rollout of CarePass comes amid increased competition in the healthcare space by both traditional and non-traditional players.

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