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Amazon Pharmacy - Yes or No?

This year, 2020, has proven to be a year of pivots, change, and new surprises around every corner. One of the newest surprises (ok, maybe this isn't a huge surprise) is Amazon announcing its own pharmacy.

But, wait. Amazon already took over PillPack. Yes, this is true. But PillPack is a bit different. That service is tailored for those taking multiple daily medications who wish to have their medications pre-packaged into small packets by date and time.

Amazon pharmacy, on the other hand, will function much like other traditional pharmacies, with a few differences (as of right now because, as we know, Amazon is skilled at changing with the changing times).

* There is no storefront - this is online only

* Only adults are serviced by this pharmacy - anyone 18 years or older

* Some prescription needs cannot be fulfilled by Amazon pharmacy, including CII medications (such as morphine or oxycodone), diabetic testing supplies, compounded medications, and a few others

* Only 30 day supplies are honored - 90 day prescriptions will be filled 1 month at a time

* If you live in Hawaii, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, or Minnesota, you'll have to wait a bit as this service is not quite ready for your area

* Your Amazon Prime membership helps you here - it provides you with free 2-day shipping and offers you cash price discounts if you either don't have insurance or your insurance doesn't cover a particular medication

Not quite ready to enlist Amazon in your healthcare needs?

No problem! They anticipated this and are also offering an Amazon Prime prescription savings benefit. This is not insurance, but rather a digital prescription savings card that can be used with Amazon pharmacy OR most other retailers, such as Walgreens or CVS. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you don't have to do anything extra to activate this discount. Your savings card can be printed or electronically captured right from your account. You can then present this to your pharmacy to determine what the cost savings would be on your prescription.

So the ultimate question is - to Amazon Pharmacy or not?

In my opinion, this is a personal preference. If COVID19 has you worried about the contact and exposure potential of a traditional retail pharmacy and the convenience of free 2-day Amazon Prime delivery sounds appealing to you, this may be a good option for you.

On the other hand, if you have a good relationship with your current pharmacist, prefer 90 day prescriptions, and need medications or supplies that they cannot fulfill at the present time, sticking to your current pharmacy may be preferred.

I will say that I expect Amazon to do big things. I can't say the best humanitarian things just yet as we do know Amazon is a business at the end of the day. But in some of the areas where traditional pharmacies have struggled, I expect the tech giant to streamline processes to make pharmacy a different space than it has ever been.

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