More than two years since announcing Amazon Pharmacy to take some of the prescription drugs business away from big (and smaller) drug stores, Amazon is launching a new product to expand its reach in the space. Today, it’s taking the wraps off RxPass, a service where Prime users in the U.S. can pay a monthly flat fee of $5 to get as many generic versions of medications as they need. Amazon said that initially the service will cover generic drugs for 80 common ailments — they include, for example, Losartan (the generic for the hypertension drug Cozaar) and Sertraline (the generic for antidepressant Zoloft) and hair growth pills — and it would not comment on its plans to expand the list.
The 80 conditions were selected, so to speak, to make it an offer attractive to a wide base of potential customers. Dr. Vin Gupta, the chief medical officer of Amazon Pharmacy, said that more than 150 million people in the U.S. already take one or more of the medications in the RxPass offering.
In addition to RxPass (not to be confused with another healthcare service for B2B called RxPass) only being available to U.S. Prime users — one more sweetener for Amazon’s membership tier that started with free shipping but now nets services like entertainment, grocery shopping services, etc. to attract repeat purchasing — RxPass is not open to people on government medical plans like Medicare or Medicaid (Amazon Pharmacy is a provider for these and thus cannot offer direct). One pays the $5 out of pocket, not on insurance. You sign up for it in your app as a Prime user, under Pharmacy.