CitySprint – surge in demand for medicines home delivery

Pharmaceuticals last mile delivery firm CitySprint Healthcare has published research indicating that 84% of pharmacists in the UK have reported increased demand for home delivery of medication in the last 12 months.

While demand for home delivery is growing, the CitySprint Healthcare research found that 57% of the pharmacists surveyed are either unclear about the legislation regarding delivery of medicines to their clients’ homes and are unware of any legislation in place at all.

The survey by CitySprint showed that more than 75% of pharmacies (in independent pharmacies cases, 91%) offer home deliveries. Those pharmacies are having to manage these services with an already heavy workload. On average, staff at pharmacies spend 11 hours a week managing deliveries with those in independent pharmacies investing an average of 13 hours a week of their time.

“In a third of cases,” said CitySprint, “it is pharmacists themselves, rather than other on-site staff, who are forced to spend their time on logistics management, despite facing pressure to evolve pharmacies and expand business offerings.

“In fact, it is fears about drains on finances and staff that are holding some pharmacies back from addressing the demand for home delivery services at all. Almost half (45%) of those not currently offering home delivery claimed to be worried that cost to the business would be too high, while 41% said they were concerned about the impact on staff time. A quarter stated they were troubled about funding cuts and aiming to keep costs down as a result.”

CitySprint Healthcare’s research revealed that most pharmacies are not embracing technology to improve the efficiency of delivery services and safeguard security. The majority (89%) are relying on paperwork or verbal confirmation to monitor the chain of custody and proof of delivery for prescriptions.

While most pharmacies (72%) employ their own delivery drivers, a third (32%) use existing staff to undertake deliveries and 6% rely on taxis or local minicabs. However, only 17% say they are worried about medication going missing.

Darren Taylor, Chief Development Officer, CitySprint, commented on the findings: “Pharmacies are under unprecedented funding and regulatory pressures – and the growing demand for home delivery can be an increasing drain on resources if not managed effectively. Although pharmacists should have oversight of home delivery services, managing all aspects of the offering is not sustainable for expert staff members that could be adding value elsewhere in the business.”

“It’s also evident from our research that the legal obligations around pharmacy-to-home deliveries are far from clear cut for pharmacists. It is vital the security of the medicine supply chain extends to home delivery and, as this responsibility remains with the pharmacist, we are calling on the industry to work together to provide clearer guidance in this area.”
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