AMAZON is shaking up another industry as it opened up their online pharmacy, which allows customers to order medication or prescription refills and have them delivered to their doorstep.
Over past the few years, the tech giant has been quietly building out its pharmacy after acquiring PillPack in 2018.
Following the launch of Amazon Pharmacy on Tuesday, stocks in the industry immediately tumbled including those of CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and GoodRx, which helps consumers find discounts on prescription drugs.
CVS’ shares fell 8.6 percent, Walgreens Boots Alliance dropped 9.6 percent, Rite Aid slid 16.2 percent and GoodRx felt the worse effects from the tech giant’s announcement falling 22.5 percent.
The tech giant’s pharmacy is built in part on PillPack’s infrastructure including its pharmacy software, fulfillment centers and relationships with health plans.
Launching in 1995 as an online book story, the company has a history of disruption as it pushed other booksellers to sell online.
Those sellers who couldn’t keep up with Amazon’s arrival went out of business, like the Borders bookstore chain, which disappeared in 2011.
The conglomerate purchased Whole Foods three years ago, which sent supermarket stocks spiraling.
However, many have been supermarkets have been able to hold their own again Amazon, offering home delivery and curbside pickup of groceries.
The company said its online pharmacy will offer commonly prescribed medications in the US, including creams, pills, as well as medications that need to stay refrigerated like insulin.
Those looking to use Amazon Pharmacy have to set up a profile on the company’s website and have their doctors send prescriptions there.
The company won’t ship medications that have a high risk of being abused like some opioids.
In a time when Americans are increasingly relying on getting their medicine via delivery due to the possible exposure to the coronavirus, Amazon’s announcement is well timed.
“We wanted to make it easy for people to get their medication, understand the cost and get it delivered to the home,” TJ Packer, Amazon’s vice president of pharmacy, told CNBC.
“The hard work is to make it easy… there were a number of complications behind the scenes.”
“We think this new benefit will add tremendous value to our members,” Jamil Ghani, vice president of Amazon Prime, told the outlet.
“It’s relevant as folks try to do more from the comfort and safety of their homes.”
Customers over the age of 18 will have access to the pharmacy service this week in 45 states, not including Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and Minnesota.
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However the company expects to serve those states over time.
Amazon Pharmacy will accept most forms of insurance, but could offer savings for people without insurance as well.
Customers can also use flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts to buy prescriptions on the service.