US

Amazon ‘considering’ creating physical pharmacies to compete with Walgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid

Now Bezos takes on the healthcare industry: Amazon ‘is considering creating physical pharmacies’ in the US to compete with CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid

  • Amazon considering creating physical pharmacies, according to a Business Insider report
  • Three sources said Amazon officials discussed setting up stand-alone stores and putting pharmacies inside some or all of its 350 Whole Food stores
  • In November, Amazon Pharmacy launched, allowing customers to compare prices and giving discounts to Prime members 
  • The report was published the same day Amazon announced a deal to buy MGM  

Amazon is looking to expand its pharmacy operations in the US by creating physical pharmacies to ‘win over a larger slice of the prescription-drug industry’, a new report claims.  

The Business Insider report, which is based on three unnamed sources, was published Wednesday – the same day Amazon announced its $8.45billion deal to buy movie studio MGM.

One person with direct knowledge of the matter said that Amazon executives have discussed setting up stand-alone stores in Boston and Phoenix and putting pharmacies inside some or all of its 350 Whole Food stores. 

While talks are exploratory at this point and any ‘meaningful’ rollout take at at least a year, according to the sources, the move would jive with the $1.6trillion company’s mentality to compete with the giants across major sectors of the business world. 

Amazon bought MGM to compete with the top streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max, and brick-and-mortar pharmacies would level the playing field with Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid and Kroger, among others. 

The company already entered the ring against the big three pharmacy companies when it launched Amazon Pharmacy in November. 

Amazon on Tuesday launched an online pharmacy for delivering prescription medications in the United States. CEO Jeff Bezos is seen in a file photo

Called Amazon Pharmacy, the new store lets customers price-compare as they buy drugs on the company's website or app

Called Amazon Pharmacy, the new store lets customers price-compare as they buy drugs on the company’s website or app

The new store lets customers price-compare as they buy drugs on the company’s website or app. Shoppers can toggle at checkout between their co-pay and a non-insurance option, heavily discounted for members of its loyalty club Prime.

The company said Prime subscribers get up to 80 percent off generic and up to 40percent off brand drugs when they pay without insurance, as well as two-day delivery.

 A spokesperson for Amazon said in an emailed statement to DailyMai.com that the company doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation.

‘Amazon Pharmacy is focused on making at-home delivery pharmacy easier and more convenient for customers,’ the spokesperson said.  

‘Customers can complete an entire pharmacy transaction on their desktop or mobile device through the Amazon App and have medications arrive at their door, with free two-day delivery for Prime members.’ 

After Amazon bought Whole Foods for nearly $14billion in 2017 – its biggest acquisition ever – there was suspicion pharmacies would soon follow, Business Insider reported. 

That never materialized; instead Amazon entered the pharmacy market with an online presence. 

 Amazon offers commonly prescribed medications, including creams, pills, as well as medications that need to stay refrigerated, such as insulin.

Shoppers have to set up a profile on Amazon’s website and have their doctors send prescriptions there. The company said it won’t ship medications that can be abused, including many opioids.

Amazon Pharmacy builds on the retailer’s 2018 acquisition of PillPack, which Amazon said will remain separate for customers needing pre-sorted doses of multiple drugs.

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