Amazon is launching a prescription drug delivery service

With perks for Prime members like 80 percent off generic medications, Amazon's latest health venture is basically a guaranteed success.

Amazon is today launching Amazon Pharmacy, a delivery service for prescription medications, as well as a prescription savings plan called Prime Rx. Both build upon Amazon’s $753 million acquisition of PillPack more than two years ago.

Beginning today, Amazon Pharmacy users in select areas will be able to create a personalized pharmacy profile complete with prescription and insurance information. Amazon Pharmacy will also offer users the option to speak with “friendly and knowledgeable pharmacists” at any time of day — a feature that could be a huge draw to the service for those who like to always be connected.

There’s no doubt about it at this point: Amazon wants to be a major player in the healthcare market. Given the company’s penchant for achieving even the most far-reaching of its goals — and its already-massive customer base — it would be shocking if Amazon’s latest venture didn’t work out and prove to be another solid revenue stream for it.

Cha-ching — Amazon’s pitch here is the same tried-and-true one it's used to build its empire time and time again: convenience and discounts for customers... and huge profits for Jeff Bezos.

In the case of Amazon Pharmacy, those savings sound almost too good to be true. Amazon says Prime members will be offered up to 80 percent off generic medications and up to 40 percent off brand name medications — prices usually reserved for those with robust health insurance. That’s yet another draw to Amazon’s Prime service, especially as it’s included at no extra cost to the normal subscription cost.

Perfect timing, really — As always, Amazon has its finger firmly on the pulse of the world, which means its timing is impeccable. With COVID-19 numbers across the United States at an all-time high, more people than ever will be looking in the near future to cut down their in-person shopping time. A trip to the pharmacy during an all-encompassing pandemic doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but for many people remains essential.

Couple this with Amazon’s ludicrously large Prime member base and you have a profitable new business venture. If Prime members are offered prescription delivery along with their groceries and all their other packages, you can bet plenty of them will jump on board.

Serious health and wellness — Amazon has been dipping its toes in the waters of the health and wellness market for a long while now, with ventures like the Halo fitness watch, but now the company is diving in headfirst. Amazon wants to be taken seriously in the market; this will be a great test as to whether or not that will happen.

Amazon says it's putting customers first with Amazon Pharmacy, and it's true that customers will benefit from speedy medication delivery and reduced prices. But we'd be remiss not to remember that those wins for consumers will be even bigger wins for Amazon's empire and extend its reach into a deeply personal part of many consumers' lives.