Uber Health announced today it’s expanding to include pharmaceutical delivery through a partnership with on-demand digital-prescription platform NimbleRx.
The partnership is beginning in Seattle and Dallas, but Uber said it “plans to grow in the coming months” to include more medication deliveries to those who need it.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
WHY IT MATTERS
Due to nationwide recommendations to limit social interactions, many people are avoiding errands such as going to a pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.
As a result, some people are turning towards delivery services to keep themselves safe. A Statista survey found that more than 60% of respondents are “likely” to purchase or “may purchase” prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines online.
The use of mail-order pharmacies have also been found to save health systems money, according to analysis from Visante. Mail-service and specialty pharmacies could save consumers, employers and other payers $311 billion between 2015 and 2024.
Uber’s prescription-delivery service may also be able to reach people who traditionally wouldn’t use mail-order pharmacies.
“Compared to community pharmacy users, mail-order pharmacy users were more likely to be white, older, married, have a higher family income, a higher educational level, have health insurance, and have a prescription with at least a 30-day supply,” according to research published in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice.
Uber has a more diverse user base, with 48% of it female, 65% falling between the ages of 16 and 34, and 66% falling below the top 25% of income level, according to a BuildFire report.
THE LARGER TREND
Uber has been operating in the health space for some time now. In 2018, the company launched Uber Health to allow healthcare professionals to order rides for patients going to and from the care they need.
Then, last year, Uber Health added remote care to its wheelhouse through a partnership with Henry Schein Medical and Medpod. The deal allowed doctors using Medpod’s telediagnostic platform to tap into Uber Health to send a trained practitioner out to a patient, or send a patient to a clinical location and perform a remote exam.
Ridesharing competitor Lyft also provides health services. It provides nonemergency medical transportation for a variety of groups, including some Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid patients in Arizona and seniors.
The Uber prescription delivery deal also comes at a time when some patients, providers and startups are concerned about medication shipping delays through the United States Postal Service.
ON THE RECORD
“Now more than ever, it is critical that people get their medications safely and efficiently, and over the last several months we have seen a significant increase in demand for prescription delivery from both consumers and retail pharmacies,” said Talha Sattar, founder and CEO of NimbleRx, in a statement. “Through this partnership with Uber Health, we are able to dramatically increase the availability of on-demand delivery of an essential product like prescriptions, which is leading to a further increase in demand in all markets we are already active in.”