Amazon Pharmacy automates discounts to help insulin patients get pledged prices

Aug 15, 2023

By Patrick Wingrove

(Reuters) – said on Tuesday its online pharmacy will automatically apply manufacturer-sponsored coupons to more than 15 insulin and diabetes medicines to help patients access discounts pledged by the drug industry.

With the new program, patients using Amazon Pharmacy will no longer have to search for and manually enter coupons from the three largest insulin makers, Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, and Sanofi, to lower the cost of their insulin to as little as $35 for a month’s supply, the company said.

Novo, Lilly and Sanofi announced in March that they would slash their insulin prices by at least 70% by or in 2024, but a report from Senator Elizabeth Warren released last month said some patients were finding it difficult to get already discounted generic insulin from pharmacies at the promised lower price.

Despite Lilly lowering the list price of its Insulin Lispro to $25 per vial in May, patients were still being quoted as much as $330 for the medicine, were not being told about cheaper options when they went to pharmacies, and were finding it difficult to use Lilly’s savings program, Warren’s report found.

Vin Gupta, Amazon Pharmacy’s Chief Medical Officer, said the report highlighted the need to make it easier for patients to get their insulin at the lowest possible prices.

“It’s not easy to actually figure out how to get that low cost, even though manufacturers and Congress have moved towards that direction. Transparency here is really key,” he said.

Amazon Pharmacy will also automatically apply available discounts to diabetes-related medical devices from manufacturers Dexcom and Insulet, including continuous glucose monitors and pumps, as well as to other cardiometabolic medicines such as Novo’s powerful weight-loss drug Wegovy.

American Diabetes Association Chief Executive Officer Charles Henderson said Amazon’s automated discounting would help the 37 million Americans with diabetes more easily access the treatments they need.

“We want those in the diabetes community to be able to make informed decisions about their diabetes care and medication costs,” he said.

Amazon has worked to lure customers away from more established pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens since launching its healthcare business in late 2020, announcing this month that it had doubled its active pharmacy users over the past year.

“Customers have got a lot of choices out there, and they’re going to choose what’s best for them. So, we’re going to create options that gives them access to these medications,” Amazon Pharmacy Vice President John Love told Reuters.

(Reporting by Patrick Wingrove in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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