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Amazon Pharmacy: online retailer launches drugs delivery service

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In the USA, Amazon announced a further step to move away from the traditional online existence. Amazon will become a delivery pharmacy.

After the takeover of the US supermarket chain Whole Foods in 2017, Amazon is now venturing into the healthcare industry. Launched in the USA as Amazon Pharmacy, the offer allows customers to buy many drugs, including many generic, brand name as well as prescription drugs such as insulin, but so-called "Schedule II" drugs are not offered.

As usual, Amazon offers a number of benefits for paying Prime members. These include free delivery within two days and additional discounts. According to Amazon, members can save up to 80 per cent on generic drugs. If it is about drugs from brand names, it could be up to 40 per cent.

Orders can be placed via Amazon's own app. However, users must first create their own profile in order to use the service.

Amazon Pharmacy
In the USA, drugs can be delivered by Amazon. / © Amazon

Amazon Pharmacy service launches in the USA

The new Amazon Pharmacy will initially be launched in 45 US states. So far excluded are the states of Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and Minnesota. Amazon also wants to become active there in the future.

The online service took over the startup PillPack for about 1 billion US dollars in 2018. This takeover is the basis for Amazon Pharmacy. PillPack already had contacts with healthcare providers. In addition, existing fulfilment centres of the startup will be used.

Combined with Amazon's infrastructure, it was only a matter of time for many observers before the Seattle-based company itself became active in the healthcare industry and started its own drug delivery service.

The US healthcare industry is expected to be worth $312 billion in 2020, with annual growth of 3 per cent. Especially in Corona times, where many people stay at home, the start of such a drug delivery service is a good time to start.

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