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Pharmacy Delivery vs. In-Person

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We live in a time when convenience reigns supreme, meaning people continually look for ways to make everyday tasks more efficient. One such task is the traditional practice of visiting a pharmacy in person to pick up prescriptions. Now, due to their ease and convenience, brick-and-mortar pharmacies face stiff competition from pharmacy delivery and on-demand services.

So, what does this rising trend mean for traditional in-person pharmacies? Is pharmacy delivery the way of the future in the industry? Keep reading to learn more.

Close up of Pharmacist packing medication package

Pharmacy Prescription Delivery Is Growing

In recent years, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of customers using delivery services for their prescriptions has slowly increased. A study by CoverMyMeds found that 36% of pharmacy customers more often opt for mail-order, home delivery, or online options to get their prescriptions. In many cases, customers prefer prescription delivery services because they’re more convenient and flexible, allowing them to save time and have hassle-free transactions.

With this rise in delivery popularity, many pharmacies find they need additional staff to meet their growing demands. With the ShiftPosts app, pharmacies can quickly find qualified, verified pharmacists to help them build and manage their pharmacy delivery business.

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Reasons for the Growing Popularity of Pharmacy Delivery

So, why are more and more people opting for prescription pick-up and delivery services? Here are a few potential reasons.


Online, mail-order, and delivery-based pharmacies are more accessible to individuals who can’t visit a traditional pharmacy due to location, transportation, physical obstacles, or health limitations. These people appreciate that they can access pharmacy delivery services without leaving their homes.

Increased Adherence for Customers

Pharmacy delivery businesses have become increasingly popular due to their potential to improve medication adherence. When customers don’t have to remember to physically pick up a prescription and instead get it delivered on a consistent schedule, they’ll always have their medications available without missing any dosages. As a result, people can adhere to their prescribed treatment schedules more effectively.

Third-Party Courier Services Available for Smaller Pharmacies

With third-party courier services, even small pharmacies can offer pharmacy delivery services to their customers. This is a great way to enhance customer satisfaction and improve overall retention since people won’t have to switch to a larger pharmacy that offers delivery.

Customer Retention

Prescription delivery enhances patient convenience and fosters customer loyalty by granting patients greater control and flexibility over their healthcare experience.

Close up of medication package being delivered

How Pharmacies Are Delivering Prescriptions

Pharmacies employ various delivery methods to meet the diverse needs of their clientele.

Digital Pharmacy

Digital Pharmacy

Customers complete prescription requests online, and delivery is handled through third-party options.

Local Delivery

Local Delivery

Prescriptions are sent to an independent local pharmacy, which delivers medications back to the customer’s home.

Chain Pharmacy Delivery

Chain Pharmacy Delivery

Customers send prescriptions to a pharmacy chain like Walgreens or Rite Aid, and they use their own delivery person or a third-party option to get the prescriptions out.

What Delivery Is Missing Compared to Home Delivery

While pharmacy prescription delivery offers undeniable advantages, it isn’t without limitations. Challenges for clients can include:

  • Complicated setup
  • Issues with delivery
  • New prescriptions taking longer to fill
  • Difficulty reaching a pharmacist, reducing customers’ ability to ask questions

The Future of the Pharmacy Experience

As the pharmacy industry and delivery models continue to evolve, the debate surrounding home delivery versus in-person visits persists. Opinions vary, with some advocating for the convenience and efficiency of prescription pick-up and delivery services, while others emphasize the importance of maintaining brick-and-mortar pharmacies as hubs for personalized care and consultation.

Each approach has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s unlikely that either option will supersede the other. Moving forward, we’ll likely see the adoption of more delivery and on-demand services, but brick-and-mortar stores will still be the preferred choice for many.

Female Pharmacist scanning bottles at pharmacy

On-Demand Delivery Services

As demand for prescription delivery grows, questions arise regarding the involvement of on-demand delivery services such as DoorDash or Uber in fulfilling these needs. Additionally, consumers may wonder about the delivery options offered by major pharmacy chains like Rite Aid, Walmart, or Walgreens, including delivery and mail-order services.

Can DoorDash, Uber, or Other Delivery Services Pick Up Prescriptions?

Yes, DoorDash has provisions for pharmacy pickup and delivery. However, strict protocols are in place for this option to ensure the prescriptions are delivered correctly and aren’t tampered with before they reach the client.

Uber Eats also offers prescription delivery through a third-party app, Nimble. There are some types of prescriptions, however, that cannot be delivered through this platform, including controlled substances and prescriptions under Medicare Part B.

Do Rite Aid, Walmart, or Walgreens Deliver or Mail Prescriptions?

  • Rite Aid: Yes, but not for controlled substances or medications that need refrigeration.
  • Walmart: Yes, though some restrictions may apply.
  • Walgreens: Yes, including same-day delivery on eligible prescriptions.

Preparing for the Future of the Pharmacy Industry

While brick-and-mortar pharmacies aren’t going anywhere, pharmacy delivery services have changed the pharmacy experience, and debate continues about whether delivery or in-person experiences are best. As the industry adapts to this shift, pharmacies will need to find a balance between convenience and personalized care.

Partner with ShiftPosts for all your pharmacy staffing needs to prepare for future industry changes. That way, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way, whether it’s technology advancement, service changes, or anything in between.

Sign your Pharmacy up today!

Have you finished your profile so you can start picking up shifts in your neighborhood? Click the link below to start seeing the benefits!


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