Amazon opens online pharmacy, shaking up another industry

Amazon opens online pharmacy, shaking up another industry

FILE PHOTO: Amazon logistics center in Lauwin-Planque
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at a logistics centre in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, April 22, 2020. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

NEW YORK: Now sold on Amazon - insulin and inhalers.

The company opened an online pharmacy Tuesday (Nov 17) in the United States, giving Amazon shoppers the chance to buy their medication and order refills on their phones and have it delivered to their doorsteps in a couple of days, just like a book or toilet paper.

The move propels Amazon into a new business, potentially shaking up the pharmacy industry as it has done to everything from book sellers to toy stores and grocers. Big chains such as CVS and Walgreens rely on their pharmacies to bring them a steady flow of shoppers who stop by frequently to pick up their medications.

Amazon said it will offer commonly prescribed medications starting Tuesday, including creams, pills, as well as medications that need to stay cold, such as insulin. Shoppers have to set up a profile on Amazon's website and have doctors send prescriptions to the Seattle-based e-commerce giant.

Most insurance is accepted, Amazon said. But Prime members who do not have insurance can also buy generic or brand name drugs from Amazon for a discount.

READ: Amazon sees pandemic boosting holiday sales and investment in delivery

Amazon has eyed the health care industry for some time. Two years ago, it spent US$750 million to buy online pharmacy PillPack, which organises medication in packets by what time and day they need to be taken. Amazon said that PillPack will continue, focusing on shipping medication to people with chronic conditions.

Source: AP