The biggest digital health news of the week was Amazon’s new RxPass offering, which sparked a ton of conversation around the tech-giant’s overall strategy and the direction of retail healthcare.
The RxPass details seem to have already been posted on every news site under the sun, but here they are in case you missed them:
- Consumers can choose from a list of 53 generic medications for over 80 common conditions such as hypertension, anxiety, or hair loss, then have ALL of them filled for a total of $5/month, including delivery. Here’s the full list.
- What’s the catch? You need to be a Prime member ($139/year), it’s OOP only (even Medicaid/Medicare coverage is a no-go), and residents of California, Texas, and a handful of other states need not apply… yet.
For patients taking multiple medications, RxPass has the potential to be an absolute game changer. It also seems like a great way to enroll new Prime members that don’t want to watch Jack Ryan or listen to Amazon Music, especially seniors.
- Only a few other companies have the logistical prowess to put something similar together, such as Walmart’s generic drug service ($4/month PER medication), CVS and Walgreens’ prescription programs, and Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company’s transparency-first approach.
- What these competitors don’t have is 170M US Prime members and a website that averages two billion monthly visitors. Walmart’s probably the closest, and it last reported having about 12M Walmart+ members.
Amazon’s RxPass launch is the latest link in a chain of healthcare moves that now looks something like this if you cut out the noise form Alexa / Whole Foods / Halo:
- PillPack (2018) -> Amazon Pharmacy (2020) -> Haven (RIP) -> Amazon Care (RIP) -> Amazon Clinic (2022) -> One Medical (2022) -> RxPass (2023)
If anything, RxPass reaffirms Amazon’s commitment to compete in the healthcare arena through its core competencies, which isn’t exactly great news for D2C digital health startups or mail-order pill mills. The good news is that if anyone’s going to come out on top of all the competition, it’ll probably be the consumer.