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Amazon Pharmacy
Old 11-18-2020, 08:55 AM   #1
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Amazon Pharmacy

It looks like Amazon is now in the pharmacy business. From AP https://apnews.com/article/amazon-op...b0c7ffdcda2a68

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The retail colossus opened an online pharmacy Tuesday that allows customers to order medication or prescription refills, and have them delivered to their front door in a couple of days.
Here’s the website https://pharmacy.amazon.com/
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Old 11-18-2020, 10:32 AM   #2
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I went through the process to create a pharmacy account because I wanted to check out there pricing compared to my current online pharmacy (Express-Scripts). None of my prescriptions were going to be less expensive. I'll stick with what has been working for me the last 2 years. I also prefer the website experience of Express-Scripts.
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Amazon limits prescription fills to 30 days
Old 11-18-2020, 10:57 AM   #3
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Amazon limits prescription fills to 30 days

Costco is still cheaper for me. Plus, Costco also fills 90 days and longer prescriptions.

Amazon limits prescriptions fills to 30 days. This is nuts for those of us using meds long term.

Limiting fills to 30 days can allow pharmacies to claim that a 90 day prescription is THREE 30-day fills requiring 3 copays (That was my experience with one chain).
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Old 11-18-2020, 11:02 AM   #4
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Not yet available in Louisiana. Oh well! That's what I get for choosing to live here. They also do not deliver to Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, or Minnesota.

Anyway, this service sounds nice for those to whom it is offered due to actually living in civilized regions. Meanwhile I have no problems with the drive through at Walgreens.
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Amazon limits prescriptions fills to 30 days. This is nuts for those of us using meds long term.
Oh, and thanks, samm, for the info about no 90-day fills! I prefer these anyway, so I'd probably stay with Walgreen's even if I had a choice. Sour grapes.
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Old 11-18-2020, 11:03 AM   #5
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Not sure how this announcement coordinates with their PillPack business but DW has been using PillPack for maybe 6 months and is very happy with it.
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Automatic refills are NOT available at this time
Old 11-18-2020, 11:24 AM   #6
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Automatic refills are NOT available at this time

"Automatic refills are not available at this time."

I am staying with Costco
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Old 11-18-2020, 11:32 AM   #7
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Not sure how this announcement coordinates with their PillPack business but DW has been using PillPack for maybe 6 months and is very happy with it.
PillPack is shown as one of the tabs on the Pharmacy's screen. It would seem it has been merged into one business.
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Old 11-18-2020, 11:33 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by samm View Post
Costco is still cheaper for me. Plus, Costco also fills 90 days and longer prescriptions.

Amazon limits prescriptions fills to 30 days. This is nuts for those of us using meds long term.

Limiting fills to 30 days can allow pharmacies to claim that a 90 day prescription is THREE 30-day fills requiring 3 copays (That was my experience with one chain).
I hadn't noticed the lack of 90 day fills. I won't live without that. Strike 3.
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Old 11-18-2020, 11:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by PaunchyPirate View Post
PillPack is shown as one of the tabs on the Pharmacy's screen. It would seem it has been merged into one business.
That's what I would have expected. PillPack automatically ships every 30 days and arranges prescription renewals as necessary, so certainly PillNotPack will be able to do the same very shortly.

This is DW's deal so I have not paid a lot of attention, but my assumption on the 30 day period was that if a medication changes they don't want customers to have to deal with up to 180 (morning/evening x 90) packets that have to be edited before use.
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Old 11-18-2020, 01:36 PM   #10
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I wouldn't want important prescriptions left outside my building in the same manner as some Amazon deliveries are.

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Old 11-18-2020, 02:04 PM   #11
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Despite the shortcomings inherent in Amazon's model (it won't meet my needs either) I'm still glad to see this happen simply because it will put downward price pressure on drug prices.
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaunchyPirate View Post
I went through the process to create a pharmacy account because I wanted to check out there pricing compared to my current online pharmacy (Express-Scripts). None of my prescriptions were going to be less expensive. I'll stick with what has been working for me the last 2 years. I also prefer the website experience of Express-Scripts.

Ok, I also set up an account and added a drug but I can't seem to find how to check the price. Where did you find that? I don't have Amazon Prime.
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
Despite the shortcomings inherent in Amazon's model (it won't meet my needs either) I'm still glad to see this happen simply because it will put downward price pressure on drug prices.

+1 Also, I'm hopeful that this is part of the larger plan with their joint venture "Haven" as mentioned in the OP's link.
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Old 11-19-2020, 08:20 AM   #14
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Ok, I also set up an account and added a drug but I can't seem to find how to check the price. Where did you find that? I don't have Amazon Prime.
Took me a while as well. Once you're signed into the pharmacy section of Amazon, You simply search for it in the Amazon search box at the top of the screen like you would search for anything on Amazon. It then spits out results. Just like normal Amazon, it spits out a lot of stuff and you have to decide which is the one you're wanting to look at. When you drill into it, you will see pricing. It's not a very well laid out UI. It's like they're just using the normal Amazon UI for a pharmacy. Hence that is why I said I prefer Express-Scripts UI. It's specifically designed for the pharmacy sale.
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Old 11-19-2020, 09:33 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by PaunchyPirate View Post
Took me a while as well. Once you're signed into the pharmacy section of Amazon, You simply search for it in the Amazon search box at the top of the screen like you would search for anything on Amazon. It then spits out results. Just like normal Amazon, it spits out a lot of stuff and you have to decide which is the one you're wanting to look at. When you drill into it, you will see pricing. It's not a very well laid out UI. It's like they're just using the normal Amazon UI for a pharmacy. Hence that is why I said I prefer Express-Scripts UI. It's specifically designed for the pharmacy sale.
Thanks, I was looking for it within the Pharmacy section. All our Rxs are at no cost with our Part D plan for next year except for one of DHs. The Amazon price for that one is more that local pharmacies using GoodRx. FYI, you don't even have to be logged in to Amazon to check the price.

But I think it's nice to have the Amazon option. Some people will find it works for them.
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samm View Post
Costco is still cheaper for me. Plus, Costco also fills 90 days and longer prescriptions.

Amazon limits prescriptions fills to 30 days. This is nuts for those of us using meds long term.

Limiting fills to 30 days can allow pharmacies to claim that a 90 day prescription is THREE 30-day fills requiring 3 copays (That was my experience with one chain).
The other problem with 30 day fills is that it can be a problem if you are not in town. Going to tour Lower Slobovia for six weeks? You are out of luck.
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Old 11-19-2020, 11:40 AM   #17
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Despite the shortcomings inherent in Amazon's model (it won't meet my needs either) I'm still glad to see this happen simply because it will put downward price pressure on drug prices.
W2R: no it won't affect drug prices in any way. If Amazon gets traction in this area they may impact the 'process' of drug dispensing, but they will look to maximize how they collect dispensing fees.

Pharmacies don't determine the prices for drugs, that's done in two different ways:

by the manufacturers who sell drugs at wholesale prices to pharmacies.
by pharmacy benefit managers who buy wholesale at a negotiated price and contract with a pharmacy to dispense.

In the first instance, this is where GoodRx and other discount programs get their prices - for non-insurance purchase. In the second case, this is where insurance comes into play as they use these PBMs to control their costs.

All a pharmacy gets is the co-pay, if there is one, or a dispensing fee (usually less than $2 per script).

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Old 11-19-2020, 11:58 AM   #18
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W2R: no it won't affect drug prices in any way. If Amazon gets traction in this area they may impact the 'process' of drug dispensing, but they will look to maximize how they collect dispensing fees.

Pharmacies don't determine the prices for drugs, that's done in two different ways:

by the manufacturers who sell drugs at wholesale prices to pharmacies.
by pharmacy benefit managers who buy wholesale at a negotiated price and contract with a pharmacy to dispense.

In the first instance, this is where GoodRx and other discount programs get their prices - for non-insurance purchase. In the second case, this is where insurance comes into play as they use these PBMs to control their costs.

All a pharmacy gets is the co-pay, if there is one, or a dispensing fee (usually less than $2 per script).

- Rita
Amazon recognizes that, the cost savings will come from cutting out the middle man from the transactions - the pharmacy and the PBM. They will in effect become their own Pharmacy (done!) and next becoming a PBM which will negotiate directly with Pharma for drugs.

This is from 2019, but relevant:
https://www.businessinsider.com/cvs-...iptions-2019-6
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:44 PM   #19
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In case it's helpful, this is what's currently on the Amazon site under Pricing:

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The best way to find out a medication's price is to go to Amazondotcom and use the product search bar to find the medication. From there, you'll see the lowest price available without insurance, including any savings for Amazon Prime members.

If you plan to pay with insurance, we'll need to confirm prescription details with your prescriber (and sometimes your insurance company) before your copay price can be accurately calculated. This price will be shown in your cart when you're ready to check out.

A few other things you may be wondering about:
  • Do I have to sign up for Amazon Pharmacy to see medication prices? No. Prices can be found at any time—whether you've signed up or not—by following the instructions listed above.
  • Why is my copay price with insurance not available until checkout? That's because we need to confirm prescription details with your prescriber (and sometimes your insurance company) before we can accurately calculate a copay price. The copay amount can vary depending on what kind of insurance coverage you have, as well as on the prescription itself—for example, the copay price can vary due to a medication's strength, quantity, or form. Copay prices are set by insurance companies, not Amazon Pharmacy.
  • Can I find out the copay price with insurance before requesting a prescription? You can call and ask your insurance company what you can expect to pay, but the amount may not be the same as what appears in your cart when you check out (based on the reasons mentioned above).
  • What if I take a medication more than once a day? How does that impact the price? For medications in pill form, Amazon Pharmacy shows the price for a 30-day supply, based on taking one pill or one dose per day. If your dosage frequency is different, your monthly price may be higher or lower.
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