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Associated Press

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Amazon has eyed the health care industry for some time

NEW YORK — Now sold on Amazon: insulin and inhalers.

The company opened an online pharmacy Tuesday, giving Amazon shoppers the chance to buy their medication and order refills on their phones and have it delivered to their doorsteps in a couple of days, just like a book or toilet paper.

The move propels Amazon into a new business, potentially shaking up the pharmacy industry as it has done to everything from book sellers to toy stores and grocers. Big chains like CVS and Walgreens rely on their pharmacies to bring them a steady flow of shoppers who stop by frequently to pick up their medications.

Amazon said it will offer commonly prescribed medications starting Tuesday, including creams, pills, as well as medications that need to stay cold, like insulin. Shoppers have to set up a profile on Amazon’s website and have doctors send prescriptions to the Seattle-based e-commerce giant.

Most insurance is accepted, Amazon said. But Prime members who don’t have insurance can also buy generic or brand name drugs from Amazon for a discount.

Amazon has eyed the health care industry for some time. Two years ago, it spent $750 million to buy online pharmacy PillPack, which organizes medication in packets by what time and day they need to be taken. Amazon said that PillPack will continue, focusing on shipping medication to people with chronic conditions.

Author: Associated Press

Source: Fox Business: Amazon opens online pharmacy, shaking up another industry

May was a big improvement from April

WASHINGTON — Orders to American factories for big-ticket goods rebounded last month from a disastrous April as the U.S. economy began to slowly reopen.

The Commerce Department said that orders for manufactured goods meant to last at least three years shot up 15.8% in May after plunging 18.1% in April. Economists expected a rebound, but the May increase was stronger than expected.

A category that tracks business investment — orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft — rose 2.3% after plunging 6.5% in April.

The lockdowns, travel restrictions and social distancing measures meant to contain COVID-19 brought economic activity to a near standstill across the United States in March and April.

Author: Associated Press

Source: Fox Business: Orders for US big-ticket factory goods surge 15.8% in May

Freddie Mac reports the average rate on the key 30-year loan declined to 3.13% from 3.21% last week

WASHINGTON — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week as the benchmark 30-year home loan reached a new all-time low.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the key 30-year loan declined to 3.13% from 3.21% last week. It was the lowest level since Freddie began tracking average rates in 1971. A year ago, the rate stood at 3.84%.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage eased to 2.58% from 2.62%.

In recent weeks, signs have pointed to the economy appearing to be slowly recovering from the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, with more businesses partially reopening. The housing market has shown strength and robust homebuying demand, but it may be difficult to sustain because of the tight supply of homes available for sale, said Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater.

The outlook for the economy and housing will be affected by prospects for a vaccine for the virus and government relief measures and policies, Khater noted.

The government reported Thursday that about 1.5 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, a historically high number, even as the economy increasingly reopens and employers bring some people back to work. The latest figure marked the 11th straight weekly decline in applications since they peaked at nearly 7 million in March.

Author: Associated Press

Source: Fox Business: US mortgage rates fall; 30-year at all-time low of 3.13%

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