A Brief History of Pharmacies in America
In recent years there’s been an emergence of startups attempting to change the way that patients interact with their pharmacies. The common theme between these startups is their focus on technology and on‐demand pharmaceutical services. Such companies are referred to as “e‐pharmacies” – fully licensed pharmacies with in‐house personnel who provide traditional in-person services, such as consultations and filling prescriptions, online.
The movement towards more accessible pharmacy services had roots, even before the concept of an e‐pharmacy. The rise of pharmacy franchises including, CVS and Walgreens, adopted a volume model, placing several branches on the corner of every street in densely populated areas. A CVS or Walgreens on every block initially provided “convenience” stores. However, over time, their values as pharmacies deteriorated; pharmacists are forced behind endless aisles of food, beverage, and household products. Chain pharmacies have moved away from being patient‐centric, and instead, prioritize their bottom lines.
The proof is in the painful process, through which “convenience” stores shuffle patients. Never-ending wait times to “prepare” your Rx, are designed to keep customers shopping around, thereby boosting overall store revenue. In fact, 80% of a chain pharmacy’s revenue comes from the sale of over‐the‐counter medicine and other retail goods. Unsurprisingly, convenience store testimonials are rampant with complaints, from prescription prices to pharmacist incompetence. Convenience stores’ size and universal presence, have created the impression that “if you want your medicine, large convenience stores are the only places to go.” MedsNow knows better and is here to improve your pharmacy experience.
MedsNow and Independent Pharmacies
MedsNow provides a tech‐solution for independent pharmacies, moving their services online and mobilizing their services to create greater, more convenient access. Unlike other retail focused health‐tech startups, we are not trying to replace the existing pharmaceutical infrastructure. On the contrary, we recognize the value that independent pharmacies provide and are striving to work with them in tandem. MedsNow is not a pharmacy. This is an important distinction to make between us and other pharma startups. We act as an online dispatcher for customer’s prescription requests, receiving orders on our fully compliant website, and assigning them to one of our pharmacy partners. In doing so, we give independent pharmacies a digital footprint and an online point of sale—providing them with the technology and reach to thrive in the modern market.
Benefits of Independent Pharmacies:
- Personal care team: Independent pharmacies offer highly individualized service. Patients are treated as valued customers, dealing with the same pharmacist every time they call or visit.
- Price sensitive: Unlike chains, independent pharmacies are not bound by corporate partnerships and deals. Instead, they actively provide the cheapest generic medication, which maintains the same level of efficacy as brand name drugs.
- Patient‐centric: committed to the patient as opposed to the bottom line, independent pharmacies have more freedom to cater to their customer's needs.
- Exemplary service: We foster and provide superior service, that simply cannot be sustained by massive companies or franchises.
Prescriptions are filled immediately with free delivery.
Why are independent pharmacies struggling to acquire customers then?
Independent pharmacies have lost relevance in the market due to the “mass effect” of chain pharmacies, however, their existing customers remain loyal. Yes, they are ahead of the curve in terms of their service, but they lack the resources to innovate and keep up with the marketing know‐how. Most millennials, for example, are unaware of the existence of independent pharmacies!
The “Seamless” Model
The “Seamless” comparison refers to MedsNow’s approach to tackling the prevalent problems for independent pharmacies. Seamless – the online food ordering service – entered the food and beverage industry by partnering up with struggling restaurants, who lacked the upfront marketing expenses and technological expertise, to evolve their business beyond phone‐orders and walk‐ins. We are the pharma‐retail equivalent.
Our goal at MedsNow is to create a network of independent pharmacies under our banner. We provide them with the software to receive online orders and marketing resources to increase awareness for their practice. In doing so, we aim to restore their competitive advantage in the industry and give them the same ‘power‐in‐numbers’ as chains. By leveraging the number of independent pharmacies available, we also assist them in fostering operational efficiency and dispatching orders based on proximity.
Smaller, independent pharmacies cannot compete with chain pharmacies’ sheer mass and volume. However, we view independent pharmacies’ size as an advantage, enabling them to implement and hone decades of experience and provide superior, personalized care. MedsNow maintains the belief that human interactions in healthcare are indispensable. No matter how much technology and processes innovate, we cannot do without our pharmacists. Therein lies the combination of their biggest value‐added along with ours, allowing independent pharmacies to remain true to their specialization while incorporating modern sales tactics.
Healthcare should not be overshadowed by revenue‐driven corporations. MedsNow is here to empower and enable independent pharmacies.