Uber expands prescription delivery business with ScriptDrop partnership

Uber is ramping up its prescription delivery business by teaming up with software company ScriptDrop.

The ride-share giant will be the default delivery service for ScriptDrop pharmacies in 37 states and will eventually expand to others.

ScriptDrop works with some of the top grocery chains, pharmacy chains and health systems in the U.S., including Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Safeway and Vons. Through the tie-up with Uber, those pharmacies will be able to leverage the company's technology to deliver more prescriptions to more customers.

For local independent pharmacies, the hundreds of thousands of drivers using Uber’s platform across the country could enable them to meet patients where they are and serve their communities in new ways, Uber executives said in a press release.

The partnership with ScriptDrop is part of Uber's efforts to build "flexible and scalable delivery solutions" and will enable more customers to benefit from prescriptions delivered directly to their doorsteps, the company said.

RELATED: Uber Health teams up with NimbleRx to offer prescription drug delivery

In August, Uber Health, the company's nonemergency medical transportation service, made its first foray into medication delivery. Through a partnership with NimbleRx, the company offers online prescription ordering and drug delivery direct to consumers in Seattle and Dallas. It has expanded that service to Austin, Houston and New York City. 

People don’t always have the ability to conveniently or consistently pick up their prescriptions at pharmacies, whether because of a lack of reliable transportation, long working hours, health concerns or other reasons. The pandemic has exacerbated the need for seamless prescription delivery solutions—especially for vulnerable communities, Uber executives said in a press release.

“This past year has shown us now more than ever that pharmacies need more effective ways to get patients the prescriptions they need,” said Amanda Epp, CEO of ScriptDrop, in a statement. “Being able to combine ScriptDrop’s integrated interface with Uber’s technology means that pharmacies of all sizes will be better equipped to improve prescription adherence and serve the most vulnerable of their communities.” 

ScriptDrop's technology integrates with a pharmacy’s existing software and workflow to provide access to delivery solutions, ultimately reducing prescription abandonment for pharmacies and contributing to improved health outcomes for the general public. Uber, integrated through an application programming interface, will become the default application for select pharmacies, depending on location and driver availability. 

RELATED: Amazon ramps up healthcare competition with launch of online pharmacy, prescription savings benefit

Prescription delivery market heats up

The home drug delivery space is shaping up to be a competitive one, as Amazon owns online pharmacy PillPack and its nationwide pharmaceutical distribution network. The tech giant also raised the stakes when it launched Amazon Pharmacy last fall.

CVS and Walgreens continue to invest in prescription home delivery. CVS Health, which began testing drone delivery last year, is now piloting the use of self-driving vehicles for prescription delivery in the Houston market.

Other organizations, such as UPS, have also been testing home delivery for pharmaceutical products such as vaccines. 

Digital pharmacy startups like Alto Pharmacy, NowRx and Medly Pharmacy also are taking on industry giants and are securing sizable sums of money from investors.

In an increasingly competitive digital health market, many virtual care startups also are moving into prescription drug delivery as a key area of growth.

As one example, Ginger announced a tie-up with digital pharmacy startup Capsule for at-home delivery of prescription mental health medications.