CVS just made a move that could protect itself from Amazon

CVS just made a move that could protect itself from Amazon

CVS Health said on Tuesday it is launching delivery of prescription drugs and other medications across the country, a move it hopes will give it an edge over Amazon.com (amzn) if it decides to enter the market, and over the like of Walgreens (wba) and Walmart. In some cities, that delivery will happen the same day the prescription's ordered.

A CVS drugstore and pharmacy location in Philadelphia, as seen in October 2016.

The delivery service charge for one- or two-day delivery is $4.99. This delivery initiative launched in New York City at the end of a year ago; Tuesday it expanded to five new markets: Miami, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, and Philadelphia.

A selection of health and household items carried by CVS stores including cold and flu remedies, allergy medications, pain relief, first aid, digestive health, vitamins, baby, personal and feminine care products are available for delivery. It began those deliveries in NY late past year. The online retailer offers members same-day deliveries of goods typically sold in drugstores in some places.

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CVS said prescription delivery within one to two days via the U.S. Postal Service is now also available nationwide from almost all of its 9,800 stores.

CVS also processes more than a billion prescriptions annually as a pharmacy benefits manager, or PBM, and it provides mail-order deliver through that business. But a company representative has said the delivery service would be a faster alternative and have a wider reach than mail-order.

The drugstore chain has tried to position itself as more of a health care provider.

"The national launch of our prescription delivery service, including the expansion of same-day delivery in five new markets, is delivering on our promise to make staying healthy simpler for every patient, regardless of where they live", said Kevin Hourican, President, CVS Pharmacy.

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