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The universe of things you can order today and have on your doorstep tomorrow just expanded a bit more with CVS Health’s announcement Monday that it will offer next-day delivery of prescription drugs nationwide, starting in early 2018. The move will greatly expand the chain’s limited delivery options, and will be handled by personal shoppers affiliated with the online service Instacart.
Reporting on hurricane-hindered third-quarter earnings today, CVS also announced even faster, same-day delivery service in major urban areas. The service is due to start in Manhattan on Dec. 4, with expansion to Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., in early 2018. The Manhattan service will be free, and CVS reports that delivery costs in other markets will vary.
While CVS, like Walgreen’s, already offers a mail-order prescription service, its scaling up to nationwide delivery is largely seen as a preemptive strike in advance of Amazon’s possible entry into the prescription drug market. Amazon faces a variety of licensing and other hurdles to enter such a highly regulated market, but the company’s widely reported consideration of such an expansion has already sent waves through the prescription drug business.
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