Why It’s Still Better To Fill Prescriptions at Costco Than Amazon

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It’s been just over a year since Amazon announced RxPass, the company’s pharmacy benefit to help Prime members save time and money on their prescriptions. According to Amazon, Prime members can get “unlimited prescription medications” delivered for just $5 a month with RxPass. And that cost covers the delivery and all medications. So, what’s the catch?

In this article, we’ll look at the RxPass benefit, including:

This article was updated in March 2023 and I review it annually. Detailed notes on all updates can be found here.

What Is Amazon RxPass and How Much Does Amazon RxPass Cost?

RxPass is a prescription service benefit from Amazon. For only $5 a month, subscribers can get all their eligible medications delivered at no extra cost.

Only Prime members can subscribe to RxPass though. So — along with the $5 monthly subscription rate for RxPass — you need to maintain a Prime membership. You can read more about the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership here. But membership currently costs $139 if you pay for the year up front. Or you can pay $14.99 for a month-to-month membership. A subscription to RxPass is charged on the first of each month.

According to John Love, the vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, “Any customer who pays more than $10 a month for their eligible medications will see their prescription costs drop by 50% or more, plus they save time by skipping a trip to the pharmacy.”

But depending on what medications you need, you might not be able to fill enough of your prescriptions to make the cost worth it. Keep reading for money expert Clark Howard’s thoughts on RxPass and to see how RxPass might compare to other popular pharmacies when filling a few common medications.

What Does Clark Howard Think About Amazon RxPass?

After looking through the eligible medications, Clark still prefers filling his prescriptions at Costco.

“The number of prescriptions I take that are included in RxPass didn’t make it worth my while. I’m still much better off filling my prescriptions at Costco for a fraction of a cost.”

So far, RxPass only includes 61 different medications. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that, “There are currently more than 20,000 prescription drugs approved for marketing.”

Like Clark, you can compare your prescriptions to the RxPass eligible medications to see if RxPass is worth it for you.


What Drugs Are on the Amazon RxPass Drug List?

Amazon has a list of what medications are available through RxPass here. You can view the medications listed alphabetically, search for a drug by name using the site’s search bar, or browse for medications by condition.

You can also click on each drug name to review what forms of the drug are available. Medications that are covered by the RxPass subscription fee will say, “Included with RxPass” under the price. For example, here’s what it looks like when I search for the drug Amlodipine:

What Is the Difference Between Amazon Pharmacy and RxPass?

Amazon Pharmacy was launched in 2020 as an online pharmacy option for consumers to fill their prescriptions. You don’t need a Prime membership to fill prescriptions with Amazon Pharmacy. But Prime members get medications delivered via free two-day shipping. For non-Prime shoppers, delivery takes four to five days or costs $5.99 for two-day shipping. Amazon Pharmacy fills prescriptions in all 50 states.

RxPass launched in 2023 as a subscription service that’s exclusively available to Amazon Prime members. Currently, RxPass sends medications to 45 states. The subscription is not currently available in California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Texas or Washington.

While you may be able to use a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Savings Account (FSA) to pay for prescriptions from Amazon Pharmacy, you can’t pay for an RxPass subscription fee with your HSA or FSA.

Additionally, RxPass currently isn’t available for use if you have Medicaid, Medicare or any other government-funded insurance.

With Amazon Pharmacy, you pay for each individual medication that you fill and you can choose from brand or generic drugs. But with an RxPass subscription, the $5 monthly fee covers the cost of all eligible generic medications.

Read more about the key features of Amazon Pharmacy here.

How Does Amazon RxPass Compare to Other Pharmacies?

To give you an idea of how RxPass works compared to other pharmacies, I put together a few prescription scenarios. Each scenario is based on one of the most common drug combinations in the United States using rates from Amazon and GoodRx.

You can read more about how GoodRx works as a comparison-shopping resource for prescriptions here. For each scenario below, the prescription rates are estimates based on filling the prescription in Atlanta, GA. Each rate is based on the same dosage and days-supply with a standard coupon from GoodRx.


Scenario 1

30-Day Supply of Lisinopril and Hydrochlorothiazide
Lisinopril: $0 (included with $5 subscription fee)
Hydrochlorothiazide: NOT COVERED
Lisinopril: $9.66
Hydrochlorothiazide: $6.66
Lisinopril: $12.56
Hydrochlorothiazide: $4.73
Lisinopril: $12.61
Hydrochlorothiazide: $4.48
Total Cost: Between $9.48 – $11.66
(Depends on where non-covered prescription is filled.)
Total Cost: $16.32
Total Cost: $17.29
Total Cost: $17.09

Scenario 2

30-Day Supply of Lisinopril, Atorvastatin and Metformin
Lisinopril: $0 (included with $5 subscription fee)
Atorvastatin: $0 (included with $5 subscription fee)
Metformin: NOT COVERED
Lisinopril: $9.66
Atorvastatin: $13.00
Metformin: $12.00
Lisinopril: $12.56
Atorvastatin: $19.33
Metformin: $10.53
Lisinopril: $12.61
Atorvastatin: $21.25
Metformin: $8.36
Total Cost: Between $13.26 - $17.00
(Depends on where non-covered prescription is filled.)
Total Cost: $34.66
Total Cost: $42.42
Total Cost: $42.22

Scenario 3

30-Day Supply of Lisinopril, Carvedilol and Furosemide
Lisinopril: $0 (included with $5 subscription fee)
Carvedilol: NOT COVERED
Furosemide: $0
(included with $5 subscription fee)
Lisinopril: $9.66
Carvedilol: $9.07
Furosemide: $7.59
Lisinopril: $12.56
Carvedilol: $18.24
Furosemide: $7.63
Lisinopril: $12.61
Carvedilol: $20.47
Furosemide: $5.98
Total Cost: Between $14.07 – $25.47
(Depends on where non-covered prescription is filled.)
Total Cost: $26.32
Total Cost: $38.43
Total Cost: $39.06

Final Thoughts

The idea of getting all your prescriptions filled and delivered to your door for $5 a month sounds great, but there are many reasons why RxPass might not be worth it. The biggest reason is that the list of eligible medications is not currently very comprehensive.

While Amazon may expand the list of eligible medications in the future, it’s worth shopping around for your specific medication needs to see how you can get the best deal. In the scenarios above, for example, RxPass seems like a good deal if you’re only on one to three prescriptions and at least one or two are eligible.

But there are many other ways to save on the generic medications that RxPass offers. Using GoodRx at any pharmacy that accepts their coupons is a great way to start.

Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drug Company is another tool you can use to comparison shop for the best deal on your prescriptions. Check out how to use Cost Plus Drugs and why Clark recommends the company here.

Article Updates

March 2023: Updated RxPass state availability and total number of medications available; updated prescription costs in Scenario tables #1-3