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The Amazon Effect in Pharmacy

Amazon has officially launched Amazon Pharmacy. Amazon's entrance into this healthcare space may cause disruption, as well as provide opportunity for collaboration.
Amazon has officially launched Amazon Pharmacy, a move that industry experts, business analysts and local pharmacists have been expecting. Marketed as a ‘digital drugstore,' Amazon Pharmacy will deliver prescription medications. Amazon's entrance into this healthcare space may cause disruption, as well as provide opportunity for collaboration. 

Most Iowa pharmacies offer same-day local delivery and other personalized health care services. In addition to filling prescriptions, community-based pharmacies serve as a local point of healthcare. Pharmacists can provide medication management by identifying side effects and recommending treatment or dose adjustments when needed. Local pharmacists routinely partner with physicians to optimize patients' medications for affordability, desired outcomes, and side effect management. Local pharmacies also provide immunizations, including the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine, and health screenings for chronic and acute conditions such as high blood pressure and influenza. When a prescription is needed for an antibiotic or middle-of-the-night discharge medication from the emergency room, local pharmacies serve Iowa communities. Most have also implemented technology to ensure medications are easy to order, track and receive.

Although pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) and the COVID-19 pandemic have put an increased strain on pharmacies, many in Iowa continued to expand the number of services they provide their patients. “Because Iowa pharmacies have already been competing with PBM-owned mail-order pharmacies, the business model for the most successful local pharmacies focuses on delivery of value and patient care. Those pharmacies have joined our network to provide a high level of personalized care and service,” said Lindsey Ludwig, Executive Director of CPESN, a network of community pharmacies focused on delivering value to healthcare.

Iowa Pharmacy Association's Executive Vice President & CEO, Kate Gainer, stated, “It is important for Iowans to be able to choose their pharmacy provider. Having a ‘pharmacy home' and a local pharmacist as a member of your healthcare team ensures you have a personal advocate for medications that are affordable, effective and appropriate for your specific needs. Iowa's pharmacists have stepped up to serve their patients and communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and this summer's derecho storm, and they will continue to do so.”

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