Walgreens expands prescription delivery program nationwide

Leslie Hanson
December 8, 2018

Walgreens is working with FedEx to launch a nationwide next-day delivery service for prescription drugs as the top pharmacy chains gear up to compete with Amazon. Patients can pay $4.99 to have their qualifying prescription drug delivered as early as the next day or choose to pick it up in stores, checking out in a special express line.

Walgreens already offers same-day delivery in select cities, including New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. In June, CVS said it would offer next-day delivery, with pharmacies in some cities like NY and San Francisco providing a same-day delivery service.

"Walgreens is driven by a desire to make healthcare accessible to all across the thousands of communities we serve".

Customers who opt into getting texts from Walgreens will get an alert when a prescription is ready, and then can decide to have it delivered instead of coming into the store. "This expansion of our alliance with FedEx illustrates our commitment to making filling prescriptions as fast and easy as possible".

Walgreens and FedEx Corp. began a partnership a year ago where the drugstore chain started offering package drop-off and pick-up services at several thousand stores.

Walgreens and rival CVS Health Corp. face a looming threat from Amazon, which bought online pharmacy PillPack for about $1 billion in June. (NASDAQ: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.

Walgreens is joining drugstore competitor CVS Health in expanding home deliveries for prescriptions nationwide, as stores continue adjusting to a retail world made more customer-friendly by online competition. As of August 31, 2018, Walgreens operates 9,560 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with its omnichannel business, Walgreens.com. In the past, Walgreens has offered delivery, though typically not as quickly. Consumers expect efficiency in delivery - either next-day or ease of picking up in store - offered by the likes of Amazon or Walmart, and the expectations for prescriptions are no different. Some prescription benefit plans and insurance plans do not allow home delivery Other restrictions apply.

Amazon has always been rumored to be interested in the pharmacy business, and its entry could disrupt a business dominated by large American chains such as CVS and Walgreens.

Extended hour pharmacies are those open 14 hours or more daily.

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