Slideshow: Big retail pharmacy apps with prescription refill

By Aditi Pai
Walgreens app on left, CVS app on right

Walgreens app on left, CVS app on right

A 2012 Deloitte survey of 613 U.S. primary care and specialist physicians selected from the American Medical Association found that 19 percent of health care providers offer their patients a web-based program to refill prescriptions online. While some retail pharmacies have been offering apps with prescription refill features for a few years, others have only recently added these offerings.

This February, Walgreens introduced an API that allows mobile developers to integrate Walgreens' prescription refill technology with a different app. While a regular customer at Walgreens might already be content with the store's mobile app offerings, someone else might prefer the refill technology added to an app he or she is already using. The nature of a pharmacy refill app is medical, but patients weave it into their daily routines.

In the U.S., going to the pharmacy almost always involves a supermarkets and convenience store experience, and that is reflected in their apps. Even the CVS Pharmacy app, as well as the others featured below, isn't featured in Apple's App Store Medical or Health & Fitness categories. Instead, you can find these apps in Lifestyle and Food sections. It incorporates rewards points, a photo center and other one-stop-shop offers to create an app that will fill your prescription, but also lead you to the best deal in the dairy aisle. The apps below all include at least a pill refill option, while some chart health trends and offer reminders. Read through our roundup below.

CVS Pharmacy mzl.skesmzpw.320x480-75 CVS Pharmacy offers a photo center; QR scanner for product prices; tab to see the latest deals; photo center and prescription section. This app offers a range of options for customers looking to deal with prescriptions. This app offers a range of prescription functions, such as the pill scanner, minute clinic and refill prescription. The app also offers a pill identifier to help identify pills based on imprint, shape and color information. The app keeps tabs of prescription history and offers non-health services, such as the ability to link a rewards and savings account to the app and the option to order photos. In 2010, CVS Caremark launched an iPhone app that allows CVS Caremark PBM (pharmacy benefits manager) members can refill prescriptions, check drug costs and find a pharmacy nearby. This year, CVS added an iPad app that is designed to look like a virtual pharmacy, where each section of the store corresponds to a functionality for the app, many of which are already present on the iPhone app. To download the CVS Pharmacy iPhone app, the user must be at least 17 years old.