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Pharmacy2U and Royal Mail join to offer same-day medicines deliveries

The service is initially offered via Pharmacy2U’s Chemist Direct brand

Pharmacy2U is partnering with Royal Mail to offer same-day deliveries of some medication and healthcare products, following a surge in demand for deliveries during the pandemic.

The service is launching via Pharmacy2U’s Chemist Direct brand – which sells over-the-counter medication, toiletries, vitamins and supplements – and will initially focus on some areas in Yorkshire only, the companies said in a statement last week (June 3).

Royal Mail and Pharmacy2U are committed to expanding the partnership “in the coming months”, to improve patients’ experience and “innovate in the delivery space”.

C+D has asked Pharmacy2U for more details on the service, including a list of medicines that will be eligible for same-day delivery.

Commenting on the partnership with Royal Mail, Pharmacy2U CEO Mark Livingstone said that he hopes “repeat prescriptions will become even more accessible and it will lead to more people adhering to their doctor’s orders”.

Increased demand for medicine deliveries

A YouGov survey of 2,208 adults – commissioned by Royal Mail and carried out in April – revealed that “39% of those who ordered medication online to be delivered by post in the past 12 months did so for the first time”.

Almost two-thirds (59%) of people choose to have their medicines delivered “for ease and convenience”, while 37% select home deliveries to “avoid making journeys to the pharmacy” and 24% “to avoid risk of infection from COVID-19”, according to Royal Mail.

Just under a quarter (22%) of the respondents to the YouGov survey said they are likely to order “any type of medication online to be delivered in the post in the next year”.

Clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) patients in England could have their medicines delivered via the pandemic delivery service, which came to an end on March 31 as CEV patients were told they no longer needed to self-isolate from April 1.

Royal Mail and Pharmacy2U believe their same-day medicine delivery service “is especially important for vulnerable people” during the pandemic.

Echo and Royal Mail pilot

In March, Royal Mail launched a trial with Lloydspharmacy's Echo to speed up the delivery of repeat and acute prescriptions, which could eventually lead to a same-day delivery service.

A spokesperson for Echo told C+D today (June 7) that the pilot had now finished and it is reviewing how it can expand its reach beyond the initial cohort.

“As well as this, we are looking to push the delivery timeframes to be able to offer the benefits of this type of service to many more patients,” they added.

“We remain excited about the prospect of a same-day provision and will be looking to relaunch this in the coming months.”

22 Comments
Question: 
Does your pharmacy offer a medicine deliveries service?

janet maynard, Community pharmacist

Looks iike we are living through the death throes of community pharmacy

mark straughton, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Not really a game changer. But still a big sign of the direction it's going. 

I can't emphasise enough to community pharmacists- get out! retrain, go to hospital pharmacy. Maybe the PCN route offers some hope with new qualifications but the pharmacist in the community pharmacy will become redundant! Please  heed these words!

Uma Patel, Community pharmacist

Royal Mail charges 85p for 1st Class letter delivered hopefully next day ! What are they charging P2U? Commercial secret I suppose

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Online is the way to go. C19 put on the accelerator in regards to the death of the high street. And let us never forgot the looming powerhouse that is Amazon. They will overshadow any logistical system in place, and I don't think loyalty will be a metric I would gamble on.

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

Can someone tell me how the MHRA is so strict on the wholesalers like DE and Colorama on temperature controlled logistics when we have P2U chucking them along with letters in a royal mail sack which can be subjected to god knows what temp during transportation?

TC PA, Community pharmacist

This point has been raised before I think. They package them in a certain way (some sort of wool stuff?) that keeps the meds at a constant temperature. It's been approved by MHRA I believe.

I'm staggered how they plan to make a profit on these same day delivery for acute items. Say there is a script for amoxicillin, a few pence profit on DT price plus the dispensing fee. How can that be delivered same day and a profit of any significance made. I know they work on small margins but that is tight, even amazon charges a subscription to get fastest delivery. 

C D, Community pharmacist

Not quite. Simple answer is that the MHRA does not regulate pharmacy unless the pharmacy send something as a wholesale transaction to another company (then they are acting as a wholesaler and the MHRA does cover them). Items sent to a patient fall into a gap and are regulated by the GPhC who have not issued standards on this, probably because they would have to apply them to all deliveries and that would kill the pharmacy delivery driver off unless they invest in a temperature controlled vehicle (cool boxes are NOT ok). Also, the NHS is supposed to only approve a distance selling application if the process used is "safe and effective" but the people who approve the contract do not go back to check the process if it is changed. it can be checked via NHS contract monitoring, but the people doing the monitoring are unlikely to know how to assess the processes and will not want to tell P2U that their process is not safe or effective even though the NHS has already said that when they refused their Leicester application.

Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

Very enlightening... never knew any of these

TC PA, Community pharmacist

Thanks for shedding some light, interesting stuff

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

All the GPhC have to do is forbid medication being sent by post. But they wouldn't want that now would they?!!!

Allan Wilson, Community pharmacist

what's Pharmacy2U's new slogan?

'Ask your local postie for advice about your medicines'

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

No, get your prescriptions as most people want them: next day, with minimal energy expenditure, without being harangued by people in shops.

C A, Community pharmacist

"More people adhering to their doctor’s orders"

Welcome to the 19th Century where Dr's give orders

Richard MacLeavy, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

This is certainly a big step forward. Often it takes them a couple of weeks to deliver prescriptions. I remember one christmas when they didn't deliver until well into the new year!

Phil Lawes, Community pharmacist

Who remembers Pharnacy2U selling personal data and being fined for doing so? Did the GPhC discipline them for 'bringing the profession into disrepute'. No , because they only pick on the little guy. 

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

Are Pharmacy2u in profit yet?? They grab headlines and splash the cash on false advertising.... but can they make any money??

Ashley Cohen, Community pharmacist

I can think of several thousand independent pharmacies offering same day delivery of medication!  Many independents can also get urgent antibiotics or pain killers out to vulnerable/housebound patients within an hour of receipt!!  Perhaps Chemist and Druggist might want to highlight this in the next news article. Its called Community Pharmacy!

Mark Boland, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Perhaps this explains why governments have been so emboldened to take money out of the contract? Offering 'free' services and then complaining about not getting paid for them - it is called community pharmacy.

P M, Community pharmacist

royal mail  ,,, very funny story

Keith Mitchell, Community pharmacist

Here's a not very funny story.

Anybody seen the recent scams about "Royal Mail" asking for a non-delivery fee which entails the customer giving their bank details so that "Royal Mail" can relieve them of their life savings?

Here's the punchline. The customers mostly didn't question the scammers because they were waiting for MEDICINES.

Wonder if they were from "Pharmacy 2U"?

 

 

 

John Cleese, Production & Technical

Where are the stories saying that people didn't question the scammers because they were waiting for medicines, Keith? I didn't see those.

Keith Mitchell, Community pharmacist

It was on daytime tv (OK, I'm retired) but even my wife has had text messages purporting to be from "Royal Mail" asking for a non-delivery fee for a non-existent package.

My point about the original post was:, How secure will this system be?

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