Amazon, Walmart rivalry heats up with dueling prescription discounts

Amazon Prime members and Walmart+ members can benefit from the services without insurance

Amazon and Walmart's latest cost-cutting competition is happening over the pharmacy counter. 

On Tuesday, Amazon and Walmart offered similar programs touting that Prime and Walmart+ members would get better access to commonly prescribed medications while offering discounts on them without relying on insurance. It's the latest bid to lure in customers to their respective subscription services – which have seemingly been in competition since Walmart+ debuted last year.  

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Amazon Pharmacy confirmed to FOX Business the e-commerce giant is now offering a six-month supply option for eligible medications and if Prime members pay without insurance, they'll be privy to "additional savings." 

Select medications will start at $1 per month with unlimited, free two-day delivery, according to Amazon. Some of those medications include Lisinopril, which is used for high blood pressure, and Metformin, which is used for type 2 diabetes. 

"For customers who take one or two daily medications, the hardest part may be remembering to refill the script. Now, customers with a 6-month prescription only need to think about it twice a year," Amazon Pharmacy Vice President TJ Parker said. 

Signage points customers to at the pharmacy exit during the grand opening of a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in the Chinatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Get

The savings for Prime members offer "a real advantage" due to the fact that there are many occurrences when someone may need medication without insurance, Parker said. 


On the same day, Walmart had begun incentivizing consumers to join its own members-only subscription service by offering a swath of discounts on commonly prescribed medications.  

With Walmart+ Rx for less, any Walmart+ member will receive discounts up to 85% off for select medications or, in some cases, entirely for free.  

According to Walmart, members can choose to use the prescription discount program at any Walmart Pharmacy location instead of their insurance benefits with their pharmacy savings card and a valid prescription. 

Walmart said Tuesday in a note to customers that members can receive savings for "a variety of health needs, including heart health, mental health, antibiotics, allergies and diabetes management." However, the retailer stopped short of announcing which prescriptions that entails. 

"When you consider the frequency with which many prescriptions are filled, the importance of medication adherence and the ease of multiple fulfillment options, we can make it easier for someone to manage their medical conditions," Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness executive vice president, said. 


Last year, the Arkansas-based retailer launched Walmart+, charging subscribers either $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, in its latest effort to compete with e-commerce giant Amazon which launched its Prime subscription service in 2005. 

Walmart+ offers same-day delivery on 160,000 items, a fuel discount at certain gas stations and a chance to check out at Walmart stores without having to wait at a register.

Comparatively, Prime, a service that costs $119 a year, or $12.99 a month, offers fast shipping and other perks, such as discounts at Amazon’s Whole Foods supermarkets and access to its video streaming service.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.