The home screen of Amazon Pharmacy on a laptop computer in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon on Tuesday announced a new prescription benefit for US Prime members, hoping to increase subscriptions and attract users to its pharmacy service.

The add-on, called RxPass, will allow Prime members to get as many medications as they need from a list of 50 generic drugs for more than 80 common chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, anxiety and diabetes. The service costs $5 per month per person, and shipping is free.

In recent years, Amazon has pushed deeper into healthcare. In 2020, the company launched its own online pharmacy, a service that emerged from its 2018 acquisition of PillPack. Amazon introduced and then shuttered a telemedicine service called Amazon Care, and in July announced the acquisition of boutique primary care provider One Medical.

Amazon also offers Prime Prescription Savings, which offers up to 80% off generic drugs and up to 40% off brand-name prescriptions.

Amazon is increasing perks for its Prime subscription program as CEO Andy Jassy looks to cut costs elsewhere in the company. Amazon plans to lay off about 18,000 employees, while it has frozen hiring for its corporate workforce and scaled back some projects. Still, Jassi said Amazon intends to continue pursuing long-term opportunities, including healthcare.

The e-tailer faces competition in the pharmaceutical space from companies such as CVS, Walgreens and Walmart. Amazon hasn’t said how its online pharmacy offering has fared since launch. According to Business Insider, an August report by Morgan Stanley found that Amazon Pharmacy is not considered a top perk for Prime members.

Amazon’s chief medical officer, Vin Gupta, said the company aims to provide a pharmacy experience that is “fundamentally different” from how pharmacies have existed for the past several decades.

“It’s still early days for us and we’re in the early stages here, but we understand that change is necessary,” Gupta said in an interview. “That’s what patients across the country are telling us, and that’s what Amazon is responding to.”

RxPass does not offer insulin or specialty medications, and it is not available to people on Medicaid or Medicare. Gupta declined to say whether Amazon would expand the list of drugs offered through RxPass in the future.

About 150 million people take at least one of the drugs included in the original RxPass formulary, he said.

— CNBC’s Bertha Coombs contributed to this article.

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