has added prescription drug savings to its Walmart+ subscription service, as competition among pharmacies continues to heat up. The news comes as
added its own prescription discount plan.
After the close of regular trading Monday, Walmart (ticker: WMT) introduced Walmart+ RX, a benefit available to Walmart+ members that provides “additional savings on the most commonly prescribed medications across a variety of health needs.” The program will provide members with access to some medications at zero cost, and many others at discounts ranging up to 85%.
Likewise on Tuesday, Amazon.com (AMZN) introduced six-month prescriptions for $6—a longer period than insurance companies typically cover—for its Amazon Prime subscribers.
Walmart stock edged up 0.1% to $140.99 in recent trading, and Amazon was 0.6% higher to $3,218.50. But the news from the two companies dented the shares of traditional pharmacies.
stock (CVS) slipped 0.4% to $86.01, and
Boots Alliance (WBA) shares fell 1.3% to $53.86.
Walmart launched its subscription service in late 2020 to a positive reception, but more recently a number of analysts have worried that membership rates are lagging. The company said at the start of the program that it would be adding features over time, and the prescription drug news is the latest addition, after Walmart previously dropped its minimum for nonfood orders.
In the past, some analysts have worried that consumers still saw Walmart+ as primarily a same-day grocery service, hindering growth. Thus, the addition of drug discounts might help to shift this perception and entice more people to sign up.
Of course, Walmart has a long history in the pharmacy business, and launched its $4 generics program in 2006. In October 2020, it also introduced Walmart Insurance Services, to Medicaid insurance plans.
Walmart has been steadily diversifying away from its core retail business in recent years. In January, it announced its move into fintech and a partnership with
(WU). On Tuesday, payment platform PayNearMe said that select Walmart stores would use the service to allow customers to pay bills.
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