Amazon launches an online pharmacy for US consumers

Amazon said on Tuesday that it is launching an online pharmacy for US consumers, who will be able to order prescription drugs directly from the e-commerce giant’s website or mobile app.

The move comes two years after Amazon acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy that offers pre-labeled dose packaging and delivery.

“We designed Amazon Pharmacy to put customers first – bringing Amazon customer obsession into an industry that can be uncomfortable and confusing,” said TJ Parker, vice president of the new unit.

“We are working hard behind the scenes to deal with complications smoothly so that anyone who needs a prescription can understand their options, place their orders at the lowest price available, and get their medication delivered quickly.”

Amazon rumors have long been interested in the pharmacy business, and the entry of a powerful new player could destabilize a business dominated by major US chains including CVS and Walgreens.

An Amazon statement said PillPack will continue to operate as a premium unit within Amazon Pharmacy for customers using the service.

The tech and retail giant said it will abide by US health privacy laws and will not offer certain controlled drugs such as opioids.

The online pharmacy will allow customers to use their insurance or pay out of pocket, while offering discounts for Amazon Prime members.

The move comes with increased scrutiny at Amazon and other tech giants about their growing dominance in key sectors of the economy.

In the pre-market trade, rival pharmacy operators saw their shares tumble with Rite-Aid down 11.7%, CVS losing 7.1% and Walgreens 9%.

Amazon earlier this year launched an online pharmacy for consumers in India for both prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

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