CVS looks to one-up Walgreens, other rivals with nationwide Rx deliveries
CVS Pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health, announced yesterday that it is now offering same- and next-day deliveries of prescription drugs nationwide. Customers can request deliveries by ordering them through the drugstore chain’s mobile app or by picking up the phone and calling their local pharmacy.
The fee for next- or two-day deliveries from CVS is $4.99. The service is available across the U.S.
Same-day deliveries, which are limited to more densely populated markets such Boston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., include a fee of $8.99. For same-day deliveries, orders placed by 4:00 pm local time are delivered by 8:00 pm Monday through Friday. Orders received by 11:00 am Saturday and Sunday will be delivered by 4:00 pm.
Some prescriptions including controlled substances, Medicare Part B items and medicines that require refrigeration are not included in the CVS delivery options.
Kevin Hourican, president, CVS Pharmacy, said the expanded delivery service is part of the drugstore chain’s “promise to make staying healthy simpler for every patient, regardless of where they live …. The rollout of delivery from nearly all of our 9,800 retail pharmacy locations nationwide represents another step forward for us in delivering innovative omnichannel solutions that help people on their path to better health.”
USA Today reports that CVS is playing catch-up in many respects when it comes to delivering meds. Seventy-two percent of independent community pharmacies offer deliveries and 76 percent of those offer the service for free. Larger rivals including Kroger and Walgreens also offer deliveries. Kroger offers same- and next-day deliveries, but not nationwide. Walgreens charges $19.95 for one-day deliveries.
A CNBC report suggests that CVS is introducing deliveries of prescription drugs in a preemptive move intended to blunt an entry by Amazon.com into the market.
Reports surfaced about a year ago that Amazon was seeking to hire an executive to lead its entry into the pharmacy business. The $400 billion category was seen as another that Amazon could potentially disrupt as it has done elsewhere. The top 15 pharmacies in the U.S., which include CVS and Walgreens, represent about 75 percent of total prescription drug sales.
- CVS Pharmacy Prescription Delivery Now Available from All Locations Nationwide – CVS Pharmacy/PRNewswire
- CVS launches prescription delivery nationwide – USA Today
- As Amazon looms, CVS rolls out next-day Rx deliveries nationwide – RetailWire
- Is the $400B prescription drug business ripe for an Amazon disruption? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will the CVS same- and next-day delivery mean for competitive balance within the retail pharmacy business? Do you expect Walgreens and other large sellers of prescription medicines to match or beat the CVS offer? How likely is Amazon to enter the retail pharmacy business?