CVS Ups the Ante for Same-Day Medication Delivery


The retail pharmacy and health care company will bring prescriptions to patients' doors in select cities, but this raises several questions.

Recently, CVS Pharmacy said that it would roll out same-day medication delivery service in Manhattan on Dec. 4 and then to Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington in early 2018.1

As previously reported, same-day delivery service has been a popular pharmacy niche for start-ups over the past few years. There are a number of companies in this space, including GetMyRox, Phil, ScriptDrop, and Zipdrug,2 which tend to offer their services in San Francisco, a hub for health care-related start-ups, and some of the other cities in which CVS will offer same-day delivery service. Manhattan itself is home to Capsule, a pharmacy start-up that aims to provide patients with a concierge pharmacy experience, including same-day delivery service.

But though there is a lot of competition in the same-day delivery space, one limiting factor is that most of these companies are tied only to independent pharmacies and lack a connection to large chains.

CVS has sought to differentiate itself from other large chain drugstores and has been pushing new services this past year, including curbside pickup and ways to get prescriptions at the counter to reduce waiting times.

One big question, however, is what about rural areas? Targeting urban environments is easier due in no small part to population density and delivery distances, but in rural areas, the cost of making same-day deliveries is steep. Any company that can figure this out may be on to something great. Perhaps future delivery options drones or other technology.

Another question related to same-day delivery is how it will affect pharmacist workflow. Will CVS pharmacists have different categories for wait times or different methods of identifying patients for delivery? Who will deliver these medications, and will pharmacists be responsible for counseling services?


1. CVS Pharmacy to bring prescriptions right to customers' doors with nationwide next-day delivery and same-day delivery in select markets [news release]. Woonsocket, RI; November 6, 2017. Accessed November 20, 2017.

2. The Digital Apothecary. The start-ups disrupting the pharmacy Sector. Published September 5, 2017. Accessed November 20, 2017.

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