CVS Health's pharmacy unit announced Monday it is expanding paid CarePass membership nationwide. The loyalty and membership program, which differs from its free ExtraCare program, offers free one- or two-day home delivery on eligible paid prescriptions.
CarePass members can also call a 24/7 helpline and speak with a pharmacist with secure access to their medication history.
The retail giant, which now owns insurance giant Aetna, already offers at-home prescription drug delivery nationwide. As of April, the healthcare company offers same-day delivery to 6,000 CVS pharmacies for a flat fee of $7.99, leveraging its brick-and-mortar facilities to seek an edge on Amazon's Prime business.
At-home drug delivery is becoming increasingly competitive as market giants Amazon and CVS Health ramp up investment in the space.
E-commerce behemoth Amazon acquired online pharmacy PillPack last year for $1 billion, spurring fears among traditional players about outside disruption in a burgeoning market. Shares of retail pharmacy companies like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens plummeted following news of the acquisition.
The CarePass model, which includes free delivery, is strikingly similar to Amazon's ubiquitous Prime membership. Prime has over 100 million Americans paying $12.99 a month for free two-day shipping and a variety of other perks at the online retailer.
The CVS program include free one- or two-day delivery on other eligible purchases made from CVS.com. Membership is $48 annually or $5/month for a month-to-month membership.
So far, CarePass has exceeded expectations at the company, according to a statement from Kevin Hourican, executive vice president of CVS Health and president of CVS Pharmacy.
CVS said that early results from its previous launch in select markets, including Boston, showed that CarePass "appeals to a broad consumer audience, 20% of whom are millennials" and that purchases among members are 15% to 20% higher on average.
CVS has an edge over Amazon with its nearly 10,000 locations, a key advantage in reaching Baby Boomers, according to Daniel Black, strategy consultant at brand strategy firm Vivaldi. But the pharmacy retailer appears to be making inroads with millennials.
In addition to the free delivery and phone consultations, members receive special discounts on CVS health brand items, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements, and personal care items. And, at least for now, CarePass also provides a $10 promotional reward each month that can be used on many items in the store or online.
CarePass will also provide "a variety of surprise perks and bonus offers made available at key times throughout the year," like a free sports physical at a local MinuteClinic. CVS "will continue to evolve" CarePass and add other services and exclusive offers, according to the company release.
Rebecca Pifer contributed reporting.