COVID-19

Costco and Instacart expand deliveries to include prescription drugs

Kristin Schwab Apr 20, 2020
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About 90% of prescriptions are filled in person. Will the pandemic change that? Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
COVID-19

Costco and Instacart expand deliveries to include prescription drugs

Kristin Schwab Apr 20, 2020
About 90% of prescriptions are filled in person. Will the pandemic change that? Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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COPY

Demand for delivery is high during COVID-19, and not just for groceries. Costco and Instacart are expanding their partnership to include prescription drug delivery in seven states, plus Washington, D.C.

“Look we’re living in the COVID-19 world,” said Bunny Ellerin, director of the health care and pharmaceutical management program at Columbia University. “And it’s virtually impossible for many people to get to a Costco.”

Costco isn’t always the most convenient pharmacy. It has less than 800 stores in the U.S., while CVS and Walgreens have around 10,000 each. Costco doesn’t want to lose existing customers to independent drugstores and chains, and it could grab new ones with the convenience of Instacart.

“Large chain pharmacies are under attack from a number of directions,” said Adam Fein, CEO of Drug Channels Institute.

Amazon has its own service, PillPack. And startups like Capsule are growing.

But Fein says the coronavirus won’t change the industry overnight. Around 90% of prescription purchases are filled in person. That’s in Costco’s best interest once things go back to normal, because you could walk in for a prescription and walk out with a big screen TV.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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