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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
HTML EMBED:
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.

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