Digital pharmacies on the rise. But who is going to pay?

Digital pharmacies on the rise. But who is going to pay?

Posted Oct 19, 2021 from

Today at HLTH, panelists discussed how digital is changing the medication delivery space and who will pay for the services.

Today consumers are used to getting just about everything delivered at their doorstep. But historically, getting medication required a trip to the doctor’s office and then a stop at the pharmacy. However, digital may interrupt this paradigm. 

It’s no secret that medication adherence is a major issue in healthcare. While medication costs have often been pointed to as the main barrier to adherence, transportation is another obstacle. 

“In a lot of the surveys we’ve seen, only 16% of our patients are saying that it is financial. It's typically that the pharmacy is too far away, or I just don't have time, or they have a medical disability, or they don't have a car,” Amanda Epp, CEO of ScriptDrop, said at HLTH 2021 this morning. “So being able to provide transportation to those patients to get what they need, to provide therapy is really the first step. What we like to do is we look at the medication, where the patients are at, where the pharmacy is. We use the power of the brick and mortar pharmacy. Almost all patients are within five miles of their pharmacy. So taking in all of those data points to determine if it is an antibiotic and the patient needs it within an hour to get on therapy.”

Alternative to traditional pharmacies 

The traditional healthcare system takes a lot of time for patients to navigate, according to Dr. Melynda Barnes, chief medical officer at Ro, said during a panel at HLTH. 

“The average American will wait 24 days after they make an appointment to see their provider. They will then go to the provider and see that person for 12 minutes, and that visit will cost them over $100. On average, they will then go to a pharmacy with a wait of 45 minutes,” Barnes said. 

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