I don’t know about you, but I have a top list of things I hate doing the most. They include: getting my oil changed, going to the post office, waiting in line at the DMV, grocery shopping, and then we have calling in and picking up a prescription. I don’t know what it is about those things that make them so painstakingly awful, but they are certainly some of those errands I save for last. A newly formed company called NowRX delivers your prescription for free and is at least trying to pave a way to make at least one of those dreaded items a little less painful. NowRX is dedicated to helping people get their prescription delivered straight to their door, same day, and often times for a lower cost than you would pick it up at a Walgreens or CVS.
NowRX is currently in one geographic location in California and officially launched in January 2016. Their goal is to disrupt the multi-billion dollar retail pharmacy industry by creating an on-demand solution for the modern day consumer.
For many, the process of picking up your prescription is a process that has become so outdated we are surprised they aren’t using the library’s old fashioned card filing system. With many prescriptions, including controlled substances (ones that would treat some kind of psychological need) needs to be hand picked up from the doctor, driven to the pharmacy where processing oftens takes an hour. Granted, many people do not need to wait in line for a controlled substance, but the average consumer still spends an average of 45 minutes waiting to pick up their prescriptions.
Poor ole Granny who can barely stand or your sweet little son who contracted the flu has to wait until their prescription makes it down the assembly of the inefficient pharmacy retail store.
Essentially, NowRX enables collaboration between physicians, pharmacists, and patients to potentially affect better medication compliance and better health outcomes. Their mission is to provide free same day prescription delivery by utilizing their own courier service that would simply drive it down to you from their very own pharmacy distribution center. They are completely cutting out your traditional retail pharmacy all together. This equals avoiding those awful lines and possibly cutting down on an out of pocket expense.
NowRX has created an app that you can download onto your smartphone. Your prescription can be transmitted to them directly from your doctor or from you scanning the paper prescription directly and securely into the app. In addition, NowRX has a video chat feature that allows customers to speak directly to a NowRX pharmacist. You are receiving the same type of care you would from walking into a CVS or Walgreens, but without budging from your couch or bed.
The challenges NowRX may face
What NowRX has going in is a truly noble and genuine business idea. But, their business model is presented with some challenges. They are a good example of a business model that can go extremely well or extremely bad, there really is no middle ground here.
There is a reason why services, such as grocery delivery, is continually struggling to gain market share. The reason for this is that it is hard to teach a person to do something new. As a matter of fact, it is the most expensive form of marketing as people are just so used to doing things the same way they always have. Because there is really no other service offering like it, NowRX is faced with spending mounds of money to reteach the consumer a new way of getting their prescription. As simple as it sounds and as easy it is to download a simple and free app, most people will still stop by their local pharmacy sometime during their daily errands anyway.
In addition to a marketing challenge nightmare, they are also presented with a great logistical issue. It is very expensive to maintain and keep your own warehouse, your own team of employees (logistical and pharmacy), maintain the vehicles and all of the logistics that go into delivering the prescription, etc.
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and there is a reason why they still only do same day delivery in limited areas. It is expensive and difficult to scale. There is no better example of success than Amazon either.
Unfortunately, there are a graveyard of companies who have tried to reteach the consumer to find value in the service that they want to offer. As of now, NowRX has made only $97k in revenue from the time of its opening until November. This is not a lot of money and certainly cannot sustain a group of employees or infrastructure as of yet. The positive though, is that they are at least seeing marginal growth each money in their revenue.
The idea of NowRX is a really clever idea and we find it absolutely noble and brave when a group of people forge ahead to try and change an industry. Looking at Yelp, they are already being inundated with 5-star positive reviews. So they are certainly doing something right! It certainly does not change their set of challenges and there is a long road ahead for them. We wish them the best of luck and we hope that they become the game changer that this industry needs.