December 04, 2020
When Amazon decided to enter the pharmaceutical world, it made international news. In June 2018, Amazon purchased PillPack, making their presence known in the pharmaceutical world. This purchase worried all pharmacy chain stores and independent pharmacies on the potential loss of income from prescription and non-prescription sales. Amazon pharmacy announced that it will now be offering home delivery of prescription medications. The service is now available in 45 states for patients 18 years of age or older.1 The medication list is small, however, the breadth and depth of medications will increase significantly over time.
As Amazon enters this market, I believe it will have a significant future impact on pharmacies. Many chain stores are trying to position themselves by adding other services to entice the public to enter their stores. However, overnight shipping of medications, significantly lower prices on medications, and Amazon Prime rewards will make Amazon pharmacy very attractive to the average customer. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged social distancing and “on-line” shopping, thus, greatly improving Amazon’s bottom line.
My hope is after the COVID-19 vaccine is administered by pharmacists and the pandemic abates, patients will again recognize the importance of the brick-and-mortar stores for their health care needs. Amazon will indeed have a financial impact on these stores; however, these stores will continue to remain a fabric within our communities. I hope my prediction comes true.
Michael J. Cawley, PharmD, RRT, CPFT, FCCM, has more than 25 years of experience practicing in the areas of medical, surgical, trauma, and burn intensive care as both a critical care clinical pharmacist and registered respiratory therapist.
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- WebMD. Amazon launches Amazon Pharmacy for medications. https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/news/20201119/amazon-launches-amazon-pharmacy-for-medications. Accessed November 19, 2020.