By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Amazon has unveiled an online pharmacy that will allow users to have prescription medication sent straight to their homes as the pandemic has driven demand for delivery options.The pharmacy is the latest addition to the e-commerce giant’s empire and a major move into the lucrative U.S. health care industry. The company said that Prime members receive free two-day delivery on medications and promised savings of up to 80% off generic brands for Prime customers not paying with insurance.“As more and more people look to complete everyday errands from home, pharmacy is an important and needed addition to the Amazon online store,” Doug Herrington, the senior vice president of North American Consumer at Amazon, said in a statement.Through the pharmacy, which launched Tuesday, customers can browse and compare medications online as well as have phone and digital access to Amazon pharmacists who can answer questions about the medications.T.J. Parker, the new vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, added in a statement that the pharmacy is “bringing Amazon’s customer obsession to an industry that can be inconvenient and confusing.””We work hard behind the scenes to handle complications seamlessly so anyone who needs a prescription can understand their options, place their order for the lowest available price, and have their medication delivered quickly,” Parker added.Medications still require a prescription from a licensed health care provider, the company noted. It also does not deliver Schedule II controlled medications, which includes most opioids. Currently, the Amazon Pharmacy is not yet available in Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana or Minnesota.Stock for other pharmacies in the U.S. took a tumble Tuesday after Amazon’s announcement. Shares for CVS fell 8.6%, Walgreens Boots Alliance stock tumbled 9.6%, and Rite Aid stock dipped 16.2% by the time markets closed Tuesday.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
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