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Amazon is Not the Answer

While US Drug Prices Continue to Soar, Canadian Prices Offer Discounts that Amazon and US Retailers Can’t

“The graveyard is littered with Amazon’s bets in health care,” reports STAT news journal contributor Katie Palmer, reporting on this month’s 2023 STAT Future Summit.

At the summit, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) health executives made an effort to promote Amazon health services through exclusive interviews with STAT News and participation by Sunita Mishra, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Amazon Health Services, and Vin Gupta, M.D., MSc, MPA, Chief Medical Officer, Amazon Pharmacy.

The Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation (CPPI) Executive Director Jack Pfeiffer pointedly explained, “Amazon’s pharmacy offerings offer little savings to American patients compared to the 50-90% savings on brand name prescription importation from licensed Canadian pharmacies.”

Since its launch in November of 2020, Amazon Pharmacy has been the focus of significant mainstream media conjecture anticipating that its entrance into pharmaceutical sales could be the factor needed for Americans to finally access low cost drugs. “I think there’s this expectation that Amazon is going to come in and displace, versus complement and try to fix what’s not working, and you don’t have to displace to fix what’s not working.” Vin Gupta, chief medical officer for Amazon Pharmacy told Palmer.

“Vin Gupta is right about one thing - prescription drug prices in the US are not working for Americans. But we can tell you from years of prescription drug price comparisons, that Amazon is not the answer,” says Pfeiffer.

CPPI’s most recent price comparison of the most sought-after brand-name prescription drugs reveals that average Canadian drug prices are 54% to 90% cheaper than leading U.S. pharmacy prices. CPPI analysis compares prices at leading U.S. pharmacy competitors including AmazonPharmacy, CVS, GoodRx, and Walgreens against online Canadian pharmacies.

Supporting CPPI’s claims that Amazon is not the prescription drug price solution, is a research paper published September 5, 2023, in the Annals of Internal Medicine that demonstrated out-of-pocket payments exceeding Amazon Prime and GoodRx (NASDAQ: GDRX) Gold discount card pricing for commonly prescribed generic medications. The analysis, by Pranav M. Patel, Pharm.D., from the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Ohio, focused on the 20 most prescribed generic medications.


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