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06/08/2021

Walmart, Amazon go head to head with prescription discount programs

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Two retail giants are launching dueling programs designed to remove insurance companies from prescription drug payments, resulting in savings to the consumer.

Walmart is introducing a prescription savings program exclusively for members of its Walmart+ paid subscription service. The new Walmart+ Rx for less program is designed to deliver additional savings on the most commonly prescribed medications across a variety of health conditions, including heart health, mental health, antibiotics, allergies and diabetes management. 

Through Walmart+ Rx for less, any paid Walmart+ member now has access to select medications at zero cost, and thousands of additional prescription medications at a discount of up to 85%. Members can use the program instead of their insurance benefits by presenting their pharmacy savings card along with a valid prescription at any Walmart Pharmacy location. 

The discounts can also be applied to e-prescriptions provided from a prescriber and transferred to the Walmart Pharmacy. The prescription savings program is administered by MedImpact, a pharmacy benefit management company and provider of Rx discounts.

“With Walmart+ Rx for less, we’re providing incredible value to Walmart+ members on the prescriptions they rely on most,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive VP, health and wellness, Walmart U.S. “When you consider the frequency with which many prescriptions are filled, the importance of medication adherence and the ease of multiple fulfilment options, we can make it easier for someone to manage their medical conditions. As a company, we’re on a journey to make health care more accessible and affordable with our pharmacists providing their clinical expertise to our customers.”

Meanwhile, Amazon is reportedly now offering members of its Prime paid loyalty program six-month prescriptions starting at $6 for a selection of frequently prescribed medications. According to Bloomberg, since few insurance companies provide a six-month prescription, the program is ideally suited to customers who lack insurance or have a high prescription co-pay. 

Amazon’s program is reportedly aimed at consumers who may need to take one or two pills per day for common conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. The e-tailer plans to purchase medication in bulk and fulfill orders with two annual deliveries to support the low prices it is charging. Amazon opened Amazon Pharmacy, which allows U.S. customers to order prescription medications for home delivery, with free delivery for Amazon Prime members, in November 2020

“We want to make filling a prescription just as easy as shopping on Amazon,” T.J. Parker, VP of Amazon Pharmacy, told Bloomberg.