After years of openly flirting with entering the health care industry, Amazon went all out on Tuesday in its debut of RxPass, a new subscription service that provides Amazon Prime members with unlimited prescription medications for an additional $5 monthly fee.
According to Amazon, RxPass is designed for people who are uninsured or whose insurance doesn’t cover certain medications, and customers don’t need health insurance to sign up for RxPass. While it doesn’t stock every medication out there, RxPass offers 60 generic medications used to treat more than 80 common health conditions, the company explained, including allergies, depression, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. As a plus, people who use RxPass get their medications delivered to their home for free.
When cross-referenced to data from a 2018 study on the most-prescribed medications in the U.S., Gizmodo found that RxPass covered 16 of the 50 most-prescribed medications in the study. These included lisinopril, which was the #1 most-prescribed medication and is used to treat high blood pressure. Lisinopril is sold under the brand name Zestril. In addition, the popular cholesterol drug atorvastatin (Lipitor); the cholesterol drug simvastatin (Zocor); and omeprazole (Prilosec), which is used to treat indigestion, heartburn, and acid reflux, are also covered under RxPass.
Without RxPass, the cost for these medications without insurance appears to be on the low side, though it depends on dosage. According to Drugs.com, a month’s supply of lisinopril will set you back between $10-20. Meanwhile, a month’s supply of atorvastatin runs between $20-50, and a month’s supply of simvastatin costs between $12-40. Finally, a month’s supply of omeprazole is priced between $12-60.
While these prices may not seem very high at first, it’s important to note that a significant number of Americans take more than one prescription drug. The National Center for Health Statistics found that 24% of Americans had used three or more prescription drugs in the last 30 days in 2018, adding that 12.8% took five or more prescription drugs. All in all, if you’re taking at least three prescription medications per month every month and you don’t have insurance, it can add up.