Amazon's new drug prescription service is almost what the doctor ordered

Amazon RxPass medication package
(Image credit: Amazon)
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Continuing its foray into the healthcare industry, Amazon is launching its own drug prescription service for Prime members called RxPass, which lets consumers purchase generic medication for $5 a month.

And that $5 goes a long way. Not only is it a flat fee but subscribers won’t be subject to hidden fees or random markups, plus delivery is free. You can purchase all the medication (opens in new tab) you need for $5, assuming it’s available through the program. At launch, you’ll have access to more than 50 different medications (opens in new tab) to treat over 80 common health conditions from diabetes to gout and even high blood pressure. 

Any extra prescriptions you need that isn’t available through RxPass must be purchased through Amazon Pharmacy for its normal price. Speaking of which, Amazon Pharmacy will also highlight which medicine can be purchased through the new service as a  new blue RxPass icon will appear in medicine descriptions. 

Enrollment

To enroll, the company states Prime members will have to go through a “simple sign-up process” to verify a person’s “eligibility and prescription information.” Amazon pharmacists are available 24/7 to help out with refills or “coordinate with [your] doctor” for a smooth setup. Packages will be “delivered on either a monthly or quarterly basis” to your door – depending on the prescription. It varies.

It’s also worth pointing out that the amount of medication you purchase influences how long your subscription lasts. Say you purchase a three-month supply of finasteride. In Amazon’s eyes, you just committed to a three-month subscription to RxPass. Patients can cancel at any time, but the cancellation won’t go into effect until after that time period. You can’t cancel after 40 days in an attempt to save money; Amazon won’t let you. So be mindful of how much you buy.

Limitations

As you can imagine there are some limitations at launch. The service will be available in 42 US states. The excluded eight are California, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. Patients in those states will have to use Amazon Pharmacy to get their medicine. Amazon will also deny people depending on what type of insurance they have. If you’re on Medicare, Medicaid, or any kind of government-funded insurance, you will be denied. And neither an HSA (Health Savings Account) nor FSA (Flexible Spending Account) will be accepted.

It appears patients can use their insurance plan to pay for RxPass, but for just an extra $5 a month on top of a Prime membership fee, do you really need to? Being able to purchase all of your prescriptions (assuming they’re eligible) in one place for such a low cost is a heck of a bargain. RxPass could potentially help a lot of people, especially with the current inflation.

We reached out to Amazon to ask if there are plans to expand both the list of eligible medications and RxPass into the eight excluded states. This story will be updated if we hear back.

Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best telemedicine software in 2023. These platforms allow for remote healthcare if you’re unable to see a doctor in person. 

Update: An Amazon representative told us the company has plans to expand RxPass to other locations, but it doesn't appear the list of eligible medications will be growing. They told us Amazon is not speculating on "future plans" regarding medication.

Cesar Cadenas
Contributor

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.