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Amazon Pharmacy Announcement Tumbling Drugstore Chain Inventory

Amazon just handed a pill that was difficult to swallow to the national pharmacy chain.

The e-tailing giant launched Amazon Pharmacy on Tuesday. This is a new online store that allows customers to order prescription drugs directly at home.

News fell 8.6% in CVS’s share, but Rite Aid plummeted 16% and the Walgreens Boots Alliance fell 9.6% due to concerns that the drugstore sector is the latest to land on the Amazon crosshairs. ..

Amazon Pharmacy ships generic and branded medicines, as well as common medicines such as insulin and asthma inhalers. The new service will not sell opioids or other drugs that are at high risk of theft. This service requires a doctor’s prescription like a regular pharmacy and can be covered by most insurance.

Customers can talk to pharmacists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the company’s site, giving customers the option to compare prices for different drugs and quickly switch between out-of-pocket and uninsured options. .. The company says that Prime members who use this service will receive “up to 80% savings” on generics and up to 40% savings on well-known brands if they pay without insurance.

For the past two years, Amazon has been working to secure state licenses to ship prescriptions nationwide, which has been an obstacle to expansion into the pharmaceutical supply chain, according to an analyst note from Jefferies Equity Research.

It remains to be seen if Amazon Pharmacy will become a true rival to the country’s largest pharmaceutical company. Online startups that market discounted prescription drugs have been around for years, but haven’t hit the industry hard.

“They have nothing to do with the employer who determines the coverage,” said Stephen Halper, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. “It’s not as easy as selling a book or a light bulb.

“Looking at the large retail pharmacy business, they’re like biting the edge,” he added. “Of the hundreds of millions of prescriptions prescribed across the United States, only 5 percent are uninsured cash payments.”

The move came two years after Amazon acquired the online pharmacy PillPack for $ 735 million. The pharmacy classifies customers’ medications by day and dose and delivers the medication to patients monthly. PillPack remains a separate service. Amazon Pharmacy aims to save customers time and money instead of going to the pharmacy.

In a statement, TJ Parker, CEO of PillPack and vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, said retailers are aiming to “bring customer attachment to industries that can be inconvenient and confusing.”

In response to this announcement, a CVS spokesman said: “New entrants to the highly competitive pharmacy market are natural to us. But CVS Health isn’t just about pharmacies. Pharmacies aren’t just about delivering drugs.”

Amazon pharmacy discounts also work in physical pharmacies, and Amazon says it has partnerships with more than 50,000 nationwide. Customers who purchase the drug as an Amazon Prime member will receive the same two-day delivery as all other products in the company.

However, Halper said he believes customers are less likely to choose two-day delivery than visiting a pharmacy with drug in stock.

“Online is only effective with chronic drugs,” he said. “If your child has an ear infection, you can’t wait two days. You need that antibiotic today.”

Amazon’s share price rose 0.2% to close at $ 3,135.66.

Amazon Pharmacy Announcement Tumbling Drugstore Chain Inventory

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