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The new markets will test Amazon Pharmacy, which plans to use AI to speed up fulfillment.

Some prescription medications will now be available on the day they are ordered through Amazon Pharmacy in New York City and Los Angeles. Amazon announced service for the new markets with at least a dozen more to follow by the end of 2024.

The cities join Austin, Texas; Indianapolis, Miami, Phoenix and Seattle among locations where Amazon’s pharmacy service will fill prescriptions within a day. The ecommerce company touted e-bikes and electric vans among the delivery methods at its disposal. Drones will also make deliveries in College Station, Texas.

Amazon is No. 1 in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the largest North American online retailers. Amazon is also No. 3 in Digital Commerce 360’s Global Online Marketplaces Database, which ranks the 100 largest such marketplaces by third-party gross merchandise volume (GMV).

How Amazon Pharmacy orders are fulfilled

“By bringing Amazon Pharmacy’s deliveries into our existing world-class logistics network, Amazon is building the fastest and most convenient service for the home delivery of prescription medications,” said Doug Herrington, CEO of Worldwide Amazon Stores, in a statement shared in a blog post by Amazon. “These faster delivery speeds will be a game changer when you or your family need your medications quickly.”

According to Amazon, e-bikes will be used for deliveries in dense urban settings such as Manhattan. Meanwhile, its fleet of electric Rivian vans and other vehicles will make deliveries in the greater Los Angeles area and similar suburban settings.


How Amazon Pharmacy uses artificial intelligence

Part of Amazon’s plan to speed up prescription processing for its same-day delivery markets involves the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

“AI doesn’t replace the role of the pharmacist; it allows them to operate at the top of their license,” said Kelvin Downes, director of fulfillment at Amazon Pharmacy. “Rather than doing duplicative work, pharmacists can use the skills they went to school for to deliver better patient experiences.”

One use case for AI will be interpreting handwritten prescriptions that come in. The tech will fact-check and verify that pharmacists receive correct information. Real-life pharmacists, however, will be tasked with ensuring that medicine, strength, dosage, quantity and address labels are all in order when deliveries leave their facilities.

Medications available through Amazon Pharmacy

Amazon Pharmacy’s latest announcement follows other recent news from March. The unit at Amazon previously announced that it would work with  Eli Lilly’s LillyDirect to deliver as many as 14 medications offered through the service. The weight-loss drug Zepbound was among the first to make it on to the list.


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