Majority of US consumers would be willing to buy prescription drugs through Amazon

Amazon package in letterbox

Over 70% of Amazon customers in the United States would be willing to purchase prescription drugs through the online retailer, including 52% of respondants aged 65 years and over, according to the results of a survey carried out by German investment bank Deutsche Bank. 

The survey of consumers aged 18–65 years asked questions on current purchasing habits and preferences, their age, and health insurance type.

It found that being a member of Amazon Prime — a paid subscription service offered by Amazon that gives users access to free two-day delivery, streaming music and video, and other benefits for a monthly or yearly fee — drove interest, as over 85% of Amazon Prime members who have health insurance said they would be willing to purchase prescription drugs through Amazon.

Over 73% of Prime members said they were open to upsell offers, whereby sellers encourage customers to purchase other products based on their prescription history, despite the risks to privacy.

Non-Prime members appeared to be less open to this, which Deutsche Bank attributed to privacy concerns and the likelihood that, as non-Prime members, they would be required to pay for shipping on the additional items.

“We see Amazon likely to expand this effort to helping customers more holistically manage health, using prescription information to help educate customers on their conditions and merchandise over-the-counter medicine, healthcare supplies and healthy food to customers and to sell advertising,” said the Deutsche Bank report.

“As such, we believe it is a question of when and where — and not if — Amazon enters the healthcare space more forcefully.”

On 28 June 2018, Amazon acquired PillPack, an online pharmacy that operates in 49 US states and focuses on supply to customers on multiple medications.

Consequently, share prices of Walgreens Boots Alliance fell by more than 9% and shares at the American healthcare company McKesson Corporation, which owns US healthcare business Celesio which in turn owns LloydsPharmacy in the UK, dropped by more than 7%.

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, September 2018;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205476