Walmart+ Bulks Up And Takes On A Crowded Digital Field With Rx Discounting 

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Prescription drug savings are coming to Walmart shoppers as the retailer launched its new Walmart+ Rx for less service for subscribers.

The new service rolls out savings on prescription drugs for members — some medications will cost nothing, while others will see discounts as deep as 85 percent. Drugs marked down, according to Walmart, will be medications for ailments from allergies and high blood pressure to mental health and more.

“As a company, we’re on a journey to make healthcare more accessible and affordable with our pharmacists providing their clinical expertise to our customers,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president, Health and Wellness, Walmart U.S., adding that filling prescriptions in one place makes it easier for people to stay on top of their health, especially given the numerous “fulfillment options” and the “importance of medication adherence.”

The new addition for Walmart members, announced Monday (June 7), comes as the retailer continues its push into the healthcare segment. Walmart Pharmacy already offers a $4 generics program for all Walmart customers. According to forthcoming PYMNTS data, Walmart holds a powerful share of the in-store pharmacy business and is clearly looking to project online while enhancing its membership service. According to the data, Walmart is the third most popular physical destination for pharmacy purchases, behind CVS and Walgreens.

With digital pharmacy fulfillment on the rise, Walmart’s newly introduced members-only enhancement bears a striking resemblance to Amazon’s ever expanding catalog of offers for Prime subscribers.

Amazon’s Expanding Offers

This latest news out of Walmart came a day before Amazon’s announcement that it plans to push six-month prescriptions starting at $6 for medications for common ailments, a service many insurance companies usually don’t offer. Six-month plans better target the uninsured and under-insured to entice them to buy online instead.

The news on Tuesday (June 8) was the latest in a series out of Amazon as it has leaned harder into the U.S. healthcare market since its 2018 acquisition of PillPack. In late May Amazon announced it was rolling out new features to make it easier for consumers to find and compare costs tied to prescription drugs — including letting shoppers see if they could get a better price on their meds buying direct from Amazon as opposed to shelling out their insurance companies’ co-payment price.

Amazon Pharmacy Vice President TJ Parker told Bloomberg that Amazon can leverage its ability to buy in bulk and deliver at regularly scheduled intervals.

“We want to make filling a prescription just as easy as shopping on Amazon,” he said.

And Amazon, of course, is far from alone in taking on the digital pharmacy landscape.

The Crowded Field 

The competitive field Walmart steps onto as it enters the digital pharmacy market is crowded with more than the likes of Amazon. As PYMNTS’ Provider Ranking of Prescription Apps demonstrates, Walmart also faces the likes of top spot-holder GoodRX, which recently acquired third-ranked RXSaver.

The retailer also will have to contend with established and well-known retail brands like fourth-ranked position holder CVS/Caremark — spending its second month in the position — along with grocers Publix and Kroger’s Pharmacy Divisions, ranking at No. 6 and No. 8 respectively.

Despite these known competitors, Walmart is undaunted in its plans to scale its healthcare exposure.

“We’re designing Walmart+ to be the ultimate life hack for our customers,” said Janey Whiteside, executive vice president and chief customer officer at Walmart U.S. “We know we can use our size and scale to help simplify things for our customers in a way only we can.”

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