- Rideshare giant Uber is entering the prescription drug delivery business through a new partnership with on-demand prescription platform NimbleRx, the two companies announced Thursday.
- The partnership is currently live in Seattle and Dallas, with plans to expand to other parts of the country in the coming months, per a release. Nimble and Uber have completed more than 15,000 deliveries since the pilot launched earlier this summer.
- Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Both Uber and rival Lyft have forayed into healthcare through the non-emergency medical transportation market in the past few years, linking with federal and commercial payers, along with some major employers. Uber, which has close to 1,500 healthcare partners, is now angling for a slice of the lucrative U.S. prescription drug market, too, which accounted for $335 billion in health spending in 2018 and sees some 3.8 billion prescriptions filled each year.
It's a crowded space: Retail pharmacy giants CVS Health and Walgreens have invested heavily in prescription home delivery following Amazon's acquisition of online pharmacy Pillpack two years ago. Established players and startups alike are vying for a cut of runaway drug spending, while pitching better medication maintenance. As many as 30% of people never pick up their prescribed medication from the pharmacy, per INC Research.
Digital delivery marketplace Nimble, based in Redwood City, Calif., is used by more than 700 pharmacies in 34 states, giving the new partnership significant room to scale. Through an integration with Uber Direct, Uber's delivery platform, the rideshare behemoth's fleet of drivers will now be another delivery option for consumers.
At-home drug delivery is facing rising demand as vulnerable people look to receive their medications at home, avoiding potential COVID-19 spread at pharmacies and doctor's offices. At the same time, some patients are seeing delays in delivery because of turmoil at the U.S. Postal Service, with the Trump administration accused of slowing operations to delay voting by mail.
Delivery demand from retail pharmacies has increased in COVID-19 hotspots nationwide, partly due to more requests from seniors, Nimble, which launched in 2014 and has about $500 million in annual revenue, said.
During the last week of March, mail-order prescriptions increased 21% on a year-over-year basis. That hiked their share of the prescription drug market to 5.8%, the highest in at least two years, per SunTrust Robinson Humphrey data cited by the Wall Street Journal.