The delivery of prescriptions by pharmacies is not a new thing, but the tie-up between LloydsPharmacy and Deliveroo may usher in a revolution in the pharmacy industry in the same way as Deliveroo did with the food takeaway business.
Lloyds are a national chain and already have an existing delivery service, but what this new partnership offers is on-demand delivery, at the tip of your fingers.
There are two points of interest to this new service:
Firstly, pharmacies are largely funded by a series of payments received from the NHS for the various services they offer. In response to Covid-19, the Government announced a new service, the Home Delivery during a Pandemic Advanced Service, in which pharmacies could claim £6 per delivery they make to those patients who have been classified as 'extremely vulnerable'.
It's not known how the LloydsPharmacy/Deliveroo partnership may tie up with the Home Delivery during a Pandemic Advanced Service, if at all. Although The Times have reported that this partnership is aimed at customers in need of medication or who are self-isolating, the service looks to be open to anyone who lives within the catchment area of participating Lloyds pharmacies.
It's more likely that Lloyds have a separate system for delivery to shielded patients as the NHS has stipulated very specific requirements for these deliveries.
The second, wider point of interest requires a bit of crystal-ball gazing. Even if Lloyds/Deliveroo partnership won't be supporting the Home Delivery during a Pandemic Advanced Service, community pharmacies who wish to offer this service but are unable to spare the manpower or fulfil the NHS requirements for delivery may see this as a huge opportunity.
If the partnership between Lloyds and Deliveroo proves to be successful, Deliveroo may continue to branch out in the pharmacy industry, partnering with community pharmacies in the same way it did with independent restaurants. Where community pharmacies lack the logistics and tracking abilities for deliveries, Deliveroo can step in.
And although the Home Delivery during a Pandemic Advanced Services is only meant to be a temporary measure until the end of this month, this is by no means set in stone, given how our understanding of Covid-19 is still developing, and how we are seeing a new, more technological world develop.
The face of the pharmacy industry could be changing and these are exciting times.
Plasters and paracetamol will be delivered to households within 30 minutes of being ordered in a tie-up between Lloyds Pharmacy and Deliveroo.