Will Amazon Basic Care Wipe Out Drugstores like CVS and Walgreens?

Amazon has yet again expanded its brand, looking to take on CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and other drugstores with its latest Basic Care line of products.

What is Amazon Basic Care?

In partnership with Perrigo OTC, Basic Care includes a variety of branded over-the-counter medications, like painkillers, cold medicines and even nicotine gum.

Currently, the line includes about 60 products, serving a variety of needs from basic health care to hair regrowth.

The line was quietly launched back in August and could hurt already-struggling drugstore chains across the nation – particularly those that rely on foot traffic and impulse buys.

What Can You Buy with Amazon Basic Care?

Basic Care is essentially Amazon’s over the counter medicine e-commerce solution.

It offers the most commonly used and purchased health care, cold, cough and sleep medications, though they’re not the name brands you’re used to seeing in store.

Think of it like Target’s Up & Up and Walmart’s Equate brands – a minimalistic, white-labeled line that’s primarily there to offer lower prices than name-brand items can.

Basic Care categories include allergy/cold/cough, children’s, digestive, feminine hygiene, hair growth, pain and smoking cessation, and the product line runs the gamut, offering everything from ibuprofen, stomach acid reducers, allergy medicine and children’s cough syrup.

amazon basic care

There are no prescription medications available though, and according to Amazon, offering these isn’t on the retailer’s radar anytime soon. The line also doesn’t include any topical creams or wound care treatments.

Amazon already sold branded medications like Tylenol, Advil, Zyrtec, Band-Aids and Nicorette prior to launching its Basic Care line and will continue to do so.

Why Buy from Amazon Basic Care?

The big benefit of Amazon Basic Care is its lack of branding and marketing, which lets the retailer cut costs to the consumer.

As Amazon itself puts it:

“Everyone should have their basic health care needs met, without having to pay for extras like expensive marketing. Basic Care: it’s transparent. It’s authentic. And, it’s basic. In a good way.”

And the costs-savings really are significant.

According to data from CNBC, the same dosage and volume of ibuprofen runs at $6.98 from Basic Care, compared to $14.99 at Rite Aid, $15.49 at Walgreens and $15.99 at CVS. The only retailer with comparable pricing is Walmart.

Basic Care is also ideal for bulk purchases.

This makes it a great option for family, parents or those who have recurring colds or allergies they want to stock up for. With Amazon’s Pantry boxes, diaper subscriptions, streaming services and other big advantages, the retailer is quickly becoming the go-to for busy, time-strapped parents.

Another serious benefit is Amazon’s infrastructure, which means a fast, efficient and affordable shopping experience every time.

Buy Basic Care products using the handy Amazon phone app or the instant Dash and Buy Now buttons, and if you’re a Prime member, you’ll even get free shipping within just a few hours or days, depending on where you live.

If you’re feeling sick and don’t want to leave the house, this can be a big upside for many. (Though it could also be a deterrent, depending on how quickly you need those meds).

 

Amazon’s Other Forays into Health Care

This isn’t the only move Amazon is making in the health care space.

Earlier this year, the company announced it would be investigating ways to address rising health care costs for its internal employees, partnering with J.P Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to devise ways to do so.

The company is also rumored to be in exploratory talks with several drug makers, and in 2014, it partnered up with Cardinal Health to join the medical supplies industry.

It currently offers syringes, gauze, rubber gloves and other items via its Amazon Business site, and it also administers Cardinal’s company store, giving employees various discounts on medicine and supplies.

There’s no telling what sort impact these moves – as well as Amazon Basic Care – will have on the already struggling drug store industry.

Many of the nation’s biggest chains have started pursuing deals in response. Albertsons is acquiring parts of Rite Aid, while Walgreens is working with drug distributor AmerisourceBergen. Amazon’s one limitation in the space is its lack of physical location, particularly as use of Minute Clinics and on-site vaccination stations continue to rise.

To learn more about Amazon Basic Care or other Amazon white-label brands, email tara@cpcstrategy.com

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.