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Co-op to trial 'Amazon Locker-style' prescriptions service

The Co-operative Group is to trial what it says is the first click-and-collect ‘Amazon-style’ locker service for medicine prescriptions in the UK.

In the member-owned business’s first return to the pharmacy market since it sold its entire portfolio of pharmacies in 2014, it has launched the Co-op Health App, which it says is the first in a series of digital developments.

The repeat prescription app has been designed to allow patients to collect their prescriptions from lockers situated within Co-op supermarkets by using a PIN code, which is generated by the app when they request their repeat prescription.

The scheme is being piloted in five stores in the north west of England, but patients will also be able to have their prescriptions delivered to their door, or to other retail pharmacies.

In September 2018, Co-op Venture bought Dimec, a healthcare technology start-up that had produced its own repeat prescriptions app. Existing users of this app will automatically switch to the Co-Op app by the end of May 2019.

In a press release, Co-op said that medicines ordered via the app will be dispensed from a distribution centre in Lea Green, St Helen’s.

The app joins several other existing pharmacy services that are available on the NHS Apps Library, including some that can be used to order repeat prescriptions. 

Tim Davies, managing director of Co-op Health, said. “The pharmacy sector is at the start of a digital revolution, as consumers increasingly look for more flexibility and convenience in accessing their medication.

“Our offer will give customers a range of ways to get hold of their medication, with the knowledge that the service is being provided by a brand they know and can trust, in a way that best suits them.” 

In 2014, the Co-op sold its high street pharmacy business — comprising 770 bricks and mortar pharmacies — to the Bestway Group for £620m. The pharmacies were rebranded as Well in February 2015.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206567

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