Amazon launches RxPass to expand healthcare coverage

Amazon is expanding its presence in healthcare with the introduction of a generic drug subscription service aimed at consumers with common conditions such as high blood pressure, acid reflux or anxiety.

The RxPass drug delivery service costs $5 per month for Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime costs $14.99 per month or $139 per year.

The service, which was announced Tuesday, is rolling out immediately in most states except California, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington due to state requirements. Dr. Win Gupta, Chief Medical Officer of Amazon Pharmacy, said there are about 50 generic drugs available on the subscription list to treat 80 diseases.

RxPass will target people with chronic conditions who require multiple prescription drugs and pay for them out of pocket, according to John Love, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy. Love said the lack of transparency in prescription drug pricing was the reason behind the company’s decision to launch the service.

“Most of the scripts that Americans get are managed the same way they have been for decades,” Love said. [to the pharmacy]they stand in a communal apartment … and find out the price at the place of medical care.”

While a full list of medications was not immediately available, RxPass will cover a range of hypertensives for high blood pressure and venlafaxine for anxiety and depression.

The service is not available to anyone enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, or any other public health program because those people have a $0 copay, Love said. According to him, RxPass will use the company’s existing pharmacy infrastructure and distribution channels.

RxPass is the big tech company’s latest foray into the pharmacy space through its Amazon Pharmacy subsidiary. In 2018 the company bought online pharmacy PillPack for $750 million.. He has also partnered with several Blue Cross and Blue Shield home drug delivery plans. And in late 2020, the company launched PrimeRx, which allows people to compare drug prices and offers potential savings.

Amazon is working with Inside Rx, a prescription drug price comparison service owned by Express Scripts, to administer RxPass and PrimeRx.

ScriptCo Pharmacy, a membership-based pharmaceutical company, offers a similar RxPass service for a $140 annual fee.

Over the past few years, generic drugs have become a major focus of startups and industry revolutionaries.

A group of health systems and charities launched the nonprofit Civica Rx in 2018 to make generic drugs more accessible. In March 2022, the non-profit organization said it plans to produce insulin that will be available at lower prices, making it more accessible to people with diabetes.

Entrepreneur Mark Cuban co-founded a mail-order service called The Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Co., which works with drug manufacturers to offer flat-rate generic drugs. In December, the company partnered with EmansaRx, a pharmacy benefits manager out of the healthcare purchasing business group, to provide prescription drug benefits to self-insured employers.

While Amazon awaits federal approval for its proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of One Medical, the tech giant continued its investment by launching Amazon Clinic in November.

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