Amazon Launches Subscription-Based Med Service

Amazon Prime members can access generic medications from an eligible list with free delivery for an additional $5 a month.

Amazon has launched RxPass, a new Prime membership benefit from Amazon Pharmacy that offers generic medications that treat common health conditions. With RxPass, Prime members can receive multiple, eligible medications for a monthly fee of $5 and with free delivery.

“We believe we are meeting an important moment,” Vin Gupta, M.D., chief medical officer of Amazon Pharmacy, said in an interview with Formulary Watch. He is a practicing pulmonologist, and affiliate faculty at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Evans School. “There has been a sea change; patients now have agency. They are comfortable now with receiving services at home, and they prefer not driving to pharmacy.”

The subscription service includes 50 common generic medications for many conditions, including high blood pressure, anxiety and diabetes. The full list of drugs available through RxPass is listed here. Patients can access more than one medication a month through the RxPass service.

RxPass isn’t insurance, company executives say, but it can be helpful for those without insurance, or when insurance doesn’t cover certain medications. “Two in five patients, even with insurance are underinsured and one in four have trouble affording medications,” Gupta said.

Patients must have a Prime membership in order to access RxPass, and people with Medicare or Medicaid are not eligible, but they can still use their government insurance to fill prescriptions through Amazon Pharmacy. HSA or FSA cannot be used to pay for the RxPass subscription fee. Additionally, RxPass is not currently available to send medications to several states, including California, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. Amazon Pharmacy, however, is still available in all of those states.

To enroll in RxPass, Prime members can go to Amazon.com or Amazon’s mobile app to create or update their Amazon Pharmacy profile. Once there, customers will be guided through a sign-up process that verifies their eligibility and prescription information. If customers have questions during the enrollment process or after a prescription arrives, Amazon pharmacists are on hand 24/7 to coordinate with a customer’s doctor or help with refills.

Patients do not use health insurance with RxPass and don’t have deductible or copays, but Amazon Pharmacy customers can use insurance. Amazon Pharmacy members without insurance have access to generics at 80% discount and branded therapies at a 40% discount.