Mail-order drug delivery rises during coronavirus lockdowns

An increasing number of patients are turning to mail or courier to get their prescription drugs during coronavirus lockdowns.

An increasing number of patients are turning to mail or courier to get their prescription drugs during coronavirus lockdowns. During the last week of March, mail-order prescriptions rose 21% from the previous year to bring their share of the prescription drug market to 5.8%, the highest share in at least 2 years, according to data from SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Gregg Gilbert. To compete, many local pharmacies have ramped up their own mail-order and home-delivery services during the pandemic, said Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association. He said many patients prefer interacting with pharmacists and worry about their medicines arriving on time. AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, a joint venture between retailer Walgreens Boots Alliance and Prime Therapeutics, a PBM owned by health insurers, counts 15% more home-delivery customers and 20% more volume since January 1, with most of the growth occurring after the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. CVS Health saw a 10-fold increase in pharmacy home deliveries during the first 3 months of this year, mostly since waiving fees in early March, a spokesman said. Walgreens is also seeing a boost in demand for prescription delivery during the pandemic, a spokesman said. Express Scripts said it is processing more home-delivery orders since stay-at-home measures began in March.