By Aisha Al-Muslim
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. has teamed up with FedEx Corp. to launch a nationwide next-day prescription home-delivery service as the drugstore chain works to stave off competition from Amazon.com Inc. and other rivals.
Under the delivery service called Walgreens Express, patients enrolled in text alerts will receive text notification when qualifying prescriptions are ready, Walgreens said Thursday. For a $4.99 fee, patients can have their prescriptions delivered by FedEx to their home as early as the next day. Same-day delivery is currently available in Dallas, Chicago, New York City, and Florida cities Miami, Gainesville, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. The company said it will expand the option to additional locations in 2019.
Walgreens Express will allow patients to preview costs for their medicine, prepay for eligible prescriptions and choose between home delivery or express pickup in store. Patients can also collect their prescriptions at a Walgreens Express pickup line in stores. Walgreens has about 9,560 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Walgreens's move comes after CVS Health Corp. enlisted the U.S. Postal Service for a new home-delivery service in June. CVS struck a deal with the Postal Service to pick up prescriptions at CVS stores and bring them to customers' homes in one or two days. CVS customers will be charged $4.99 per delivery, which could include over-the-counter products such as aspirin or face wash.
Later in June, The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon was buying online pharmacy PillPack Inc. for roughly $1 billion in cash, giving the e-commerce giant the ability to ship prescriptions around the country, and overnight, which made it a direct threat to the more than $400 billion pharmacy business.
Shares of Walgreens fell 1.4% in premarket trading Thursday, while FedEx shares were down 1.6%.
Write to Aisha Al-Muslim at email@example.com