Dr. Amazon

For as much flack as I give Amazon for their practices, I will hand one thing to them: they take a page from Google and try lots of things to see what sticks. Not as many as Google but Amazon has its fingers in a lot of areas. Surprisingly, their AWS hosting service is the most profitable part of the company. Now they're fully expanding into an area they'd dabbled in for a little bit: prescription drugs.

The new expansion to "The world's biggest store" is a simple subscription that can make a big difference for people. Called RxPass, the cost is a flat $5 and offers medications for over 80 common health conditions. Jess Weatherbed at The Verge has more.

The $5 charge includes the cost of delivery and is added to Prime customers’ existing monthly subscription fee. The RxPass fee is a flat rate and doesn’t increase even if users require multiple prescriptions each month. Medications can be delivered on either a monthly or quarterly basis depending on the prescription requirements. Conditions covered by the service also include allergies, diabetes (excluding insulin), and anemia. Amazon says that more than 150 million Americans already take one or more of the medications available through RxPass. A full list of generic medications covered by the RxPass subscription can be found on the Amazon pharmacy website.

The Verge

Some caveats to know are the service is not available in California, Texas, and Minnesota and this is an add-on for their Prime service. Today that cost is $140 per year, making this more of a way to prop up Prime memberships than anything.

In one way I do think Amazon is onto something and perhaps is doing this for both profitable AND the "right" reasons of giving people affordable access to medications. On the other hand, this has a bit more of an "Icky" feeling when compared to CostPlus, which has been up-front about its simplistic setup and knowledge that Mark Cuban is truly motivated to make a difference in this realm.

For those who have Prime, RxPass's launch has already happened and can be accessed here.

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