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Amazon Pharmacy partners with health plans for discount drugs

A discount card is available to Blue Plan members in five states

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon Pharmacy is offering a prescription drug discount card to Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance customers in five states, Nworah Ayogu, chief medical officer for Amazon Pharmacy, said in an interview at a health technology conference this week.

So far, the program includes partnerships with Blue Plans in New Jersey, Nebraska, Alabama, Florida, and Kansas.

The partnership lets plan customers get discounts through a MedsYourWay card when they use Amazon Pharmacy to buy their medications — and the cost of those drugs still counts towards their insurance deductibles. Typically, people with prescription discount cards have to choose between buying a drug out-of-pocket with the discount but not having the cost go towards their deductible or buying a drug through their insurance but without the discount. This program sidesteps that choice.

“They can be free to choose whatever’s cheapest and not have to worry about what applies to their out-of-pocket maximum or the deductible because both apply,” Ayogu said at the conference.

MedsYourWay is offered through the pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics, which is owned by over a dozen Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans. Prime Therapeutics started offering home delivery to some customers through Amazon Pharmacy in fall 2021.

Customers can only use the MedsYourWay card at Amazon Pharmacy. Most prescription discount cards work at a network of pharmacies.

Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy in 2020, two years after acquiring drug delivery startup PillPack. The company continues to expand into healthcare: it has a now-nationwide telehealth program called Amazon Care, a fitness band, and has integrated Alexa into healthcare settings.