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The changing face of prescription delivery services

From robots to drones to self-driving Toyota Priuses

_TECH / PRESCRIPTION DELIVERY

One thing we are all learning as we navigate our new normal is that the future will likely mean a lot less human contact. That means specialty pharmacies responsible for supplying you with, say, treatment for multiple sclerosis, will change how you receive your doses. Prescriptions may alight on your lawn as a drone drops from the sky. Or, you may see a robot roll up to your door. Until we fully live like the Jetsons though, there are several remarkably reliable prescription services. Here are a few of our favorites:

BIG CITY CONTACTLESS DELIVERY:

Capsule

Capsule is only available in New York, Boston, Chicago, and the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, but it’s a pretty impressive service. Your doctor simply calls your prescription into Capsule or you transfer it over from an existing pharmacy. Then, Capsule texts you to arrange a delivery time with someone in your bubble—it could be a friend, family, your doorman, or a brother. It means you don’t have to risk unnecessary contact and your prescriptions are delivered on time. The best part? It’s free with no additional copays. Capsule accepts all major insurances, including Medicaid.

BEST OVERALL PRESCRIPTION DELIVERY:

PillPack

Let’s face it: when it comes to delivery, it’s hard to beat Amazon. The e-commerce giant has mastered supply chain distribution and brought its expertise to the prescription delivery market with PillPack. It’s a free delivery service that has the added bonus of sorting your doses for you. That means you get your pills delivered in single-serving packs, which is great if you find yourself or your caretaker wasting too much time sorting meds. PillPack is nationwide and it accepts Medicare and most major commercial insurances. They also state that they work with Medicaid programs in Texas, New Hampshire, and Ohio, among others.

BEST DEDICATED PHARMACY DELIVERY:

MedBox

Maybe giving more money to Amazon rubs you the wrong way. Or, maybe you want to add vitamins and supplements to your scheduled delivery. Then MedBox through AmeriPharma might be where you turn. It delivers to most states in the Southwest, the upper Midwest, the Northeast, and Florida. It accepts most HMOs, commercial plans, Medicare, and also Medi-Cal. Like the others, deliveries are free and your co-pays remain the same. Similar to PillPack, MedBox delivers medications with each dose individually wrapped to cut down on the time and mistakes that happen while organizing treatments.


When you have questions, all three delivery services have professional pharmacists ready to answer your questions. You can call MedBox 24/7/365 or reach them online. Capsule is available via talk, text, email, or via the chat function on their website and app. PillPack brings up the rear in this area with their offices open from 8am to 10 pm ET on weekdays and 10-8 on weekends. But, hey, that’s likely more available than your neighborhood pharmacist.

SAY GOODBYE TO DELIVERY TRUCKS.

Here comes the future: Drones and Bots

That’s the present landscape, but the future is fast approaching with drones and robots already delivering medication in some parts of the country.

Actually, robots have been delivering medications for years. In hospitals, robots like the Aethon Tug have been shuttling prescriptions from hospital pharmacies to nursing stations for the last decade. Now the tech is moving into our neighborhoods.

The current pandemic has seen robot deliveries skyrocket in demand. Customers are ordering groceries, snacks, and their favorite burritos and then, depending on their location, watching it arrive in a Nuro, a Starship cargo box, or a Rev-1.

The first pharmacy to deliver prescriptions was CVS. The pharmacy giant partnered with UPS and piloted a program in May to deliver prescriptions by drone from three stores to nearby retirement communities in Florida. That way seniors could have their prescriptions land on their doorstep and not have to compromise their social distancing efforts.

While CVS was the first in the US, UK-based Manna Aero started delivering prescriptions around the same time in Ireland, dropping off meds for people who felt uneasy about heading into town.

CVS has expanded beyond drones and started to experiment with robot prescription deliveries. It teamed up with Nuro in three zip codes in Houston in June. Nuro, which was founded by two ex-Google engineers, uses a fleet of self-driving Toyota Priuses to zip up and down the streets and make deliveries.

To ensure the security of their prescriptions, customers need to confirm their identification to unlock their delivery when Nuro’s autonomous vehicle arrives at their home.

In a statement, Ryan Rumbarger, senior vice president at CVS Health, said in a statement, “We are seeing an increased demand for prescription delivery. We want to give our customers more choice in how they can quickly access the medications they need when it’s not convenient for them to visit one of our pharmacy locations.”

Dave Ferguson, Nuro’s co-founder and president, added, “Through our partnership with CVS, we hope to make it easier for customers to get medicine, prescriptions, and the other things they need delivered directly to their homes.”

The future is now.

Please share your adventures with us at share@juniperunltd.com
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