More and more companies are setting up in France giving people the opportunity to order their medicines online from a nearby pharmacy and have them delivered to their homes at any time of the day.
Currently this centres on towns and cities but the aim is for it to be expanded to more rural areas in the months to come.
The principle is straightforward and borrows heavily from the online food delivery sector: you select in the app the closest partnering pharmacy, order what you need - for prescription medication you will need to scan your prescription and carte Vitale -, pay product charges and delivery fees and the medicines will be delivered to your doorstep.
The delivery company makes money via commission on delivery fees.
To guarantee patient confidentiality, healthcare data is encrypted end-to-end and stocked with licensed web hosts.
The medicines themselves are prepared by the pharmacist and “delivered in opaque sealed bags”, says Nicolas Schweitzer, co-founder of medicines delivery service Pharmao. Pharmao makes over 500 deliveries everyday and operates in and around 200 towns in France.
The service is not new, with numerous pharmacies offering the service to clients for free, but the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of teleconsultations meant demand soared.
MyMediks, the first French medicines delivery app, has seen its sales grow five-fold since the pandemic.
The demand for such apps is expected to further rise with the roll-out of digital prescriptions, prompted by the government, says Alexandre Deniau, founder of Phacil, another delivery app.
The market is significant with only 385,000 of the one billion prescriptions issued each year in France currently reported to be e-prescriptions.Demand could also soar when private top-up health insurers begin to embrace the idea, with the latter potentially covering delivery costs under certain conditions.
These medicine delivery apps are currently focused in big cities but aim to expand into smaller towns and rural areas.
Currently, Livmed, MyMediks, Pharmao, Phacil and Ōtzii are currently available in various parts of France. Germany’s Cure is also set to arrive soon on the French market.