Walgreens is doubling down on Amazon’s key strength, and it could change the way you get your prescriptions (WBA)

Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina at the 2018 Forbes Healthcare Summit

  • Walgreens made a move that could protect its business from Amazon and rival CVS Health.
  • On Thursday, the pharmacy giant announced a partnership with FedEx to do national, next-day prescription delivery and same-day delivery for some cities. 
  • Customers who opted into getting texts from Walgreens will get an alert when prescriptions are ready, and then can decide to have them delivered instead of coming into the store. 

Walgreens is getting deeper into the prescription-delivery wars. 

On Thursday, the pharmacy giant said it partnered with FedEx to do national, next-day prescription delivery. At the start, the service will be available at 7,100 of Walgreens’ 9,560 pharmacies. Same-day delivery is available in Dallas, Chicago, New York City, Gainesville, Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. 

Walgreens is up against stiff competition for customers, facing off against Amazon, which is getting into the pharmacy business through its acquisition of the online pharmacy PillPack; CVS Health, which is making a big bet on the healthcare aspect of its business through the acquisition of the insurer Aetna; and of course the retail giant Walmart.

Next-day delivery will cost customers $4.99. A Walgreens spokesman said same-day delivery fees will vary, but will be priced competitively. In the past, Walgreens has offered delivery, though typically not as quickly. It’s also had a relationship with FedEx in which Walgreens set up counters in its stores where customers can drop off and pick up packages.

Customers who opt into getting texts from Walgreens will get an alert when a prescription is ready, and then can decide to have it delivered instead of coming into the store. 

Read more: Take a look inside Walgreens’ futuristic store where it’s plotting new ways to take on Amazon and CVS

CVS Health is taking a similar approach. In June, CVS said it would offer next-day delivery, with pharmacies in some cities like New York and San Francisco providing a same-day delivery service. One-to-two day service, CVS said, would cost $4.99, while same-day costs $8.99. 

The move came right before Amazon acquired PillPack. PillPack mails prescriptions that are packaged together based on when they need to be taken, putting it in a good spot to handle prescriptions for elderly people who tend to have more prescriptions. 

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