For PBMs, Amazon Pharmacy May Be Both Friend and Foe

Amazon.com, Inc. made a splash in the health care world on Nov. 17 when the online retail powerhouse unveiled new pharmacy offerings that aim to disrupt the prescription drug market with increased convenience and savings. Industry analysts tell AIS Health that the competitive threat to major PBMs is likely to be minimal, as those firms have certain advantages and capabilities that Amazon won’t easily be able to match.

In fact, Amazon is partnering with one of the three largest PBMs — Cigna Corp.’s Express Scripts, which is now part of the firm’s rebranded Evernorth division — to offer the prescription-savings benefit that will be available to Amazon Prime members. Administered by Evernorth subsidiary Inside Rx, the benefit will leverage Express Scripts’ negotiated rates for drugs to offer savings to customers who are paying without insurance. “It can be used for discounts up to 80% off generic and 40% off brand name medications at over 50,000 participating pharmacies nationwide, including Amazon Pharmacy and the PillPack by Amazon Pharmacy service,” according to a press release.

© 2021 MMIT

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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