When you go to the website for Amazon Pharmacy it states they are “The pharmacy that really delivers. Upfront pricing. Easy refills. No more waiting in pharmacy lines.” But what does this all mean? Let’s dive deeper into the business side of Amazon Pharmacy.
💰 Cost of Medications
Amazon is encouraging patients to check their medication prices. They have simple search engines on their site that allow easy access to checking prices with and without insurance. They also show the “Retail Price” of the medication along with the special “Amazon Prime Member” price, which appears to be significantly cheaper than the non-Prime Member price. Visibility to pricing is key for consumers these days and Amazon appears to have a simple system to allow for this. Additionally, the pharmacy site is set up like the Amazon retail site. Pharmacy customers are most likely familiar with the retail space so navigating the pharmacy page will feel extremely easy for them.
🚚 Delivery Convenience
Amazon Pharmacy offers delivery options for customers that make receiving their medications extremely fast. If a customer is a Prime Member, they are potentially eligible for two-day shipping (just like if you purchase other Amazon items). For non-Prime members, Amazon states the expected shipping window for each medication (this is usually around 4-5 days). The medications are delivered to the patient’s doorstep in discreet packaging offering added convenience.
💊 Medication Resources Available Online
Amazon Pharmacy has medication information and resources available online for free to consumers. Once a patient looks up the price of their medication, they can also read about how to take it, potential side effects, and medications it may interact with. This information is historically provided via paper to patients, so Amazon also offering this online adds an added layer of convenience for patients.
📞 Transfers & Calling for Refills
Amazon Pharmacy will handle transfers and calls prescribers for refills. Most pharmacies will perform thes e functions, but we did see with Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, that they will not be contacting pharmacies or physicians’ offices – it is the patient’s responsibility to provide the prescriptions to them. Per their website, Amazon will take care of all of this for the customers.
👨⚕️Pharmacists Available 24/7
Amazons Pharmacy has licensed pharmacists available 24/7 to answer patient questions. This is great for patients who may have a question pop up at any time, but it still limits the in-person counseling that so many patients want or perhaps need. In-person counseling is a great way to build a relationship with patients and with Amazon’s structure, the patients may have much more trouble establishing this. It is unknown if patients can request to speak to particular pharmacists each time they call.
🩺 Personalized, Systemic Care
A potential downfall of Amazon Pharmacy is that it lends itself to patients filling medications from multiple sources. When patients do this, it limits one pharmacy team from being able to look at the patients’ health systemically. Filling all of their prescriptions in one location leads to a level of care that is unmatched, especially when dealing with a patient that may have a more complicated disease state or be likely to experience side effects from medications.
💭 Closing Thoughts on Amazon Pharmacy
Overall, Amazon Pharmacy offers several services for patients using an easily accessible and convenient platform. Many customers are already familiar with Amazon and trust the brand but on the other hand, Amazon Pharmacy does lack the personal touch and in-person interactions that independent pharmacies can provide. It will be interesting to see how Amazon Pharmacy continues to grow and impact the healthcare market. Here at Digital Pharmacist, we will continue to help pharmacies automate their processes and keep up with the evolving digital demands of the industry.