Amazon launches online pharmacy

Retail giant Amazon is moving into the drug-delivery business, offering some new competition to chains such as CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Rite Aid, Walmart, and Kroger. With Tuesday's launch of Amazon Pharmacy, the company hopes to gain a foothold in the U.S.

Retail giant Amazon is moving into the drug-delivery business, offering some new competition to chains such as CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Rite Aid, Walmart, and Kroger. With Tuesday's launch of Amazon Pharmacy, the company hopes to gain a foothold in the U.S. online prescription ordering market, which has been sluggish but could pick up as the COVID-19 pandemic finds more people staying at home. The service could also get a big boost from its vast Prime loyalty customer base, who will receive up to an 80% discount on generic drugs and as much as 40% off brand medications when they pay without insurance. If members prefer in-person shopping over 2-day delivery, they can still enjoy the discounts on non-insurance purchases at more than 50,000 physical pharmacies, including those operated by competitors. Across the board, Amazon Pharmacy will let customers comparison-shop, toggling at checkout between the cost with co-pay and the non-insured price. The online store is available nationwide but is not yet available in five states: Illinois, Minnesota, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Hawaii.