Online sales – Amazon is now targeting pharmacy

The online distribution giant Amazon is expanding its scope by launching its online pharmacy service for the United States.

Amazon Pharmacy will make it possible to order prescription drugs over the internet.

KEYSTONE

After books, clothing, furniture, streaming, and fresh produce, only one major field of action for the online distribution giant Amazon was missing: drugs.

The gap is filled with the announcement Tuesday of the launch of its online pharmacy service for the United States, Amazon Pharmacy, which allows prescription drugs to be ordered over the Internet.

“As more and more people look to do their daily grocery shopping from their homes, the pharmacy is an important and necessary addition to the Amazon online store,” Doug Herrington, head of customer services at Amazon, said in a statement. North America.

This offensive in the pharmacy sector places the Seattle-based e-commerce colossus (northwest) in direct competition with pharmacy giants like CVS Health Corp or Walgreens Boots Alliance, the two largest drugstore chains in the United States. United States.

Jeff Bezos share on the rise

“This integrated pharmacy service fills one of the few sectors where the group’s offer was not present,” said Art Hogan, analyst for National Securities.

This announcement plunged the titles of competing channels at the opening of the Stock Exchange. At 5:45 p.m. GMT, CVS and Walgreens were down more than 9%, while Rite Aid plunged 16%.

The shares of drug distributors like Cardinal Health (-6.6%) or McKesson (-6.5%) also faltered.

The action of the group of Jeff Bezos gained 0.50%.

Amazon could quickly nibble on market share by offering, in times of a pandemic, a service that avoids queuing in pharmacies.

The group had already made a splash in drug delivery two years ago when it bought distributor PillPack for $ 753 million. This site specializing in the distribution of pharmaceutical products delivers and packages prescriptions to chronically ill patients requiring multiple medications each day.

Transparency

Now Amazon is seeing more.

It has a new section on its site dedicated to pharmacy, allowing customers to fill a prescription from their computer or phone.

There, they can save their health insurance information on a secure profile and have their doctor send the prescriptions directly to Amazon Pharmacy.

As there is a strong demand for transparency from American consumers regarding drug prices and discount card programs like GoodRx begin to flourish, Amazon is clearly banking on its information effort. on prices to conquer this market.

Internet users will thus be able to compare the price differences according to their insurance. They will also be able to see the various brands of existing generics and the various possible dosages.

Amazon specifies that it will not deliver certain drugs, such as those based on opiates.

Threat to pharmacies

To attract subscribers to its Prime service, the group will offer free two-day drug delivery as well as discounts when they pay for certain drugs without insurance.

“By launching this digital pharmacy and offering discounts to its paying members, this is the biggest breakthrough Amazon has ever made in selling prescription drugs,” noted Art Hogan of National Securities. “This is the first time that buyers can order their remedies directly from Amazon.”

For Craig Garthwaite, professor at Northwestern University’s business school, “this Amazon launch represents a significant threat to physical pharmacy dispensaries.” “These pharmacy counters must now offer more than access to prescribed drugs”, added this expert.

The entry of the Seattle giant promises to make traditional drugstore chains react. Two years ago, when Amazon took its first steps in the sector with PillPack, the CVS chain broke its piggy bank to buy insurer Aetna for $ 69 billion and expand downstream to insurance- health.

AFP/NXP

Posted today at 19:37

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