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Amazon opens online pharmacy, shaking up another industry


New York: Now on insulin and inhalers.

Online Giant opened an online pharmacy on Tuesday, where customers can order medicines or prescription refills and ship them to the front door within a few days.

The potential impact of Amazon’s arrival in the pharmaceutical space rippled through that sector immediately. Before the opening bell, Shares of CVS Health Corp. fell almost 7%. Walgreens and Rite Aid tumbled 10%.

The big chains rely on their pharmacies for a steady flow of shoppers that may also grab a snack, or shampoo or groceries on the way out. All major pharmaceutical chains have upped online services, but Amazon. com has mastered it, and its online store is infinitely larger.

Amazon will provide commonly used prescription drugs from Tuesday, including creams, pills, and drugs that require refrigeration, such as insulin. Shoppers must create a personal profile on and ask doctors to send prescriptions there.

Amazon says that most insurances are acceptable. But Prime members without insurance can also buy generic or brand-name drugs from Amazon at a discount.

Amazon has been following the healthcare industry for some time. Two years ago, it spent $750 million to purchase the online pharmacy PillPack, which packs drugs in groups according to the time and date they need to be taken. Amazon said that PillPack will continue, focusing on delivering drugs to patients with chronic diseases.

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