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Prescription delivery services as a one-stop shop for medications

Jan 20, 2021 | Healthcare | Future Market Insights

Prescription delivery services is not a new concept. In fact, it is conceptually fairly similar in nature to food or grocery delivery aggregators, cab aggregators and online shopping platforms. However, for several years this concept failed to gain traction among the industry and medication consumers alike due to the perception, or rather misperception, that the largest audience for medication being older populations, they would be less likely to use the online medium for medicine purchases. Needless to say, this perception draws heavily from the age-based bias that older generations are less technology savvy than younger people.

What changed in prescription delivery?

A few prescription delivery services had been in existence since the turn of the century, but were largely languishing for want of a customer base. One single factor has held massive sway in the boom of prescription delivery services, namely the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a course correction by the industry and consumers since the widespread lockdowns instituted as a result of the pandemic meant that most people were no longer able to step out to their local pharmacies to get their medications.

The elderly were especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic since its outbreak in Wuhan since, even in countries where the pharmacies were open during lockdowns, stepping out would meant exposing themselves to the virus. This is a fact which will hold true in the foreseeable future as well since it is common knowledge that a person’s immunity decreases as age catches up, thus rendering older people more susceptible to the virus. As a result, their obvious choice was to turn to prescription delivery services to ensure safe and effective delivery of vital medications.

What are prescription delivery services?

Prescription delivery services are essentially aggregators in the medical delivery supply chain. Ideally, in medicine supply chain a medicinal product goes from the manufacturing unit to a warehouse and then to a pharmacy or a supermarket from where the end consumer picks it up. Prescription delivery services add another layer to this supply chain by being the intermediary between the pharmacy and the end consumer. So to say, they pick up the required medicines from a pharmacy and deliver it at the customer’s doorstep, thus eliminating the customer’s need to step out and risk contracting the virus.

As a result, prescription delivery services are not involved in any process such as manufacturing, quality testing or prolonged storage of medicines. This eliminates concerns about the quality of medicines being delivered by prescription delivery providers. A similarity can be drawn between prescription delivery services and food or grocery aggregators and online shopping platforms; none of these aggregators are allowed to alter the product in any way and are merely liaisons between the product provider and the end customer. Thus, a prescription delivery service is not much different from the traditional courier except in terms of the goods handled.

What medications can be delivered by prescription delivery services?

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries had placed certain limitations on the kind of medicines that can be delivered by prescription delivery services. In most cases, their services were limited to vitamin and mineral supplements and easy-to-use home diagnostic kits such as pregnancy tests. However, their mandate has significantly expanded since the outbreak of the pandemic and most countries now allow over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and prescription medicines to be distributed by prescription delivery services. However, in some cases, a of prescription delivery service may ask a customer to upload a digital copy of a prescription or present a physical copy of the same to a delivery agent to prevent misuse of certain drugs.

Is it necessary to have an internet connection to avail prescription delivery services?

This is question that has plagued elderly customers who are not comfortable with internet platforms. In the early days of the pandemic several elderly people faced the problem of not being able to reach prescription delivery services for want of the required technological tools such as internet connectivity and smart phones. However, keeping this very vulnerable demographic in mind, prescription delivery providers have also steadily shifted their approach. Now, most prescription delivery services can be reached via telephone. Furthermore, some providers have also built tie ups with hospitals and other healthcare facilities; this allows customers the option to reach medicine delivery providers through their doctors and healthcare centers. As a result, it is safe to say that today an internet connection or smart tools are no longer a requisite to avail medications through prescription delivery services.

How to choose a good prescription delivery service?

A key concern with regard to medications has always been spurious and adulterated medications dotting the market, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. Another concern is with regard to expiry dates and proper storage of medications. As a result, it is necessary to ensure that a prescription delivery service is trustworthy and prompt. In the event that a prescription delivery service doesn’t have a tie up with a local pharmacy or the medication is one which isn’t commonly available, it is also important to ensure that the provider has the necessary storage and transportation infrastructure. Usually, the best way to do ensure that the prescription delivery service meets the above criteria is to opt for known and reliable brands that have a strong local presence. In most cases, healthcare providers in a given area are best suited to provide accurate advice.

Conclusion: A reliable prescription delivery service is safety and convenience rolled into one

Given the widespread reach and penetration of prescription delivery services, it is no longer difficult to reach out to one and avail its services. Being able to avail this service not only ensures that a person can order medicines from the safety of his or her home, but is also infinitely more comfortable than the hassle of going to a pharmacy or store every time a prescription runs out. Once a reliable prescription delivery service is found and a working relationship is stabilised, the bother of frequent calls and the need to continuously track one’s delivery also reduces. All these factors make prescription delivery services a one-stop shop for all types of medications.