Increasing competition from Amazon and other pharmacies may help increase patient medication acquisition and adherence.
Walgreens and FedEx Corp. officially announced plans to offer home delivery of prescription medications on Dec. 6th, 2018.
By partnering with FedEx Corp., Walgreens gains access to an extensive, national delivery system. The service will be comprised of two main options: next-day delivery, available nationwide as of the announcement on December 6th; and same-day delivery, which will become more widely available throughout 2019. At the time of the announcement, same-day delivery services were only available in Dallas, Chicago, New York City, Gainesville, Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale.
According to the Walgreens press release, patients who receive their prescriptions from Walgreens pharmacies can initiate the service through the Walgreens Express™ online service or mobile text message activation. Online, customers are able to preview the cost of their prescriptions, prepay eligible prescriptions, and choose between home delivery or express pickup. To activate via text messaging, customers will need to opt in to text alerts from Walgreens. According to the press release, customers will then follow on-screen instructions to choose for their medications to be delivered either same-day or next-day.
Regardless of the type of delivery, any request will generate a $4.99 charge on top of the prescription costs. According to the press release, orders will need to be placed by 4pm Monday-through-Friday to guarantee specific arrival dates. Orders placed after 4pm will be considered a part of the next business day’s orders.
The development of this service is due to several healthcare market trends. On one hand, the service will allow greater distribution of medications to patients that otherwise face complications retrieving their prescriptions from brick-and-mortar stores. Similarly, the service will also increase the likelihood that patients maintain medication adherence, which has become a complication for pharmacists within recent years.
However, the announcement also comes in response to Amazon’s acquisition of PillPak. According to an article published in Time magazine, PillPak-a company selling pre-sorted packets of prescription drugs and delivering to customers’ homes-granted Amazon access to a vast, nationwide healthcare drug network. Furthermore, PillPack’s mail-order pharmacy licenses in every state, along with its relationships with Express Scripts, CVS, and cooperation with most Medicare Part D drug plans will allow Amazon to rapidly grow its services, Time says.
With the recent partnership with FedEx, Walgreens claims that its services are now the quickest option for next-day prescription delivery across the continental United States.