Tag Archives: Madeleine Cline

Will Amazon Pharmacy transform the pharmacy industry?

Amazon Pharmacy, the tech giant’s latest venture into healthcare, launched a mail-order pharmacy in November 2020. The venture provides mail prescription delivery for all patients, as well as the additional benefits of two-day prescription delivery and discounted medication prices for Amazon Prime members through the Prime Rx program. Patients can have providers send prescriptions directly to Amazon or Amazon can contact the provider on the patient’s behalf. Amazon Pharmacy complements Amazon PillPack, which sorts medications into small, individual packages based on the date and time of day they are to be taken. 

Effectively, Amazon is joining the existing pharmacy supply chain. Amazon Pharmacy works with pharmacy benefit managers to ensure its mail-order pharmacy service is included in pharmacy networks when prescriptions are filled with insurance. When insurance is not used, Amazon offers Prime members discounted pricing through its mail-order pharmacy or at participating retail locations. 

In this paper, Milliman professionals discuss whether Amazon Pharmacy will disrupt, conform, or lay the groundwork for future transformation in the pharmacy industry. 

Benchmark projections for specialty medications

Specialty medications have become a large portion of healthcare spend, consuming over $200 billion of a total estimated $480 billion in pharmacy spend per year. And spend on these medications is projected to continue rising.

In this study, Milliman’s Madeleine Cline, and Katie Holcomb provide claim cost benchmarks to illustrate the magnitude and distribution of specialty medication costs adjudicated under both the pharmacy and medical benefit for a commercially insured population.  Their findings suggest that understanding the complex and changing landscape is important for payers to effectively manage specialty medication costs.