Following up on last fall’s pilot, Instacart has launched prescription delivery at almost 200 Costco Wholesale club locations.
Instacart said Thursday that the prescription service is now available at designated Costco pharmacies in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New York, Washington and the District of Columbia. Plans call for national expansion across Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco’s 547 U.S. warehouse clubs in the coming months.
News emerged in early November that Costco was testing prescription delivery with Instacart. The online grocery giant said today the pilot involved multiple stores in Southern California and Washington state.
The partnership marks Instacart’s entry into prescription drug delivery. Instacart provides delivery service to the three largest U.S. drugstore chains (CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Rite Aid) and Canada’s biggest drug chain (Shoppers Drug Mart) but not for prescription medications.
Among retailers, Costco is the eighth-largest U.S. pharmacy by sales, with estimated 2019 prescription revenue of $2.7 billion, according to date from the Drug Channels Institute.
The prescription delivery rollout with Costco was expedited by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Instacart. The San Francisco-based e-commerce company said the expansion came “in response to the growing customer demand for grocery, household goods and personal health care delivery.”
“Instacart has become an essential service for millions of consumers who are relying on us in the wake of COVID-19 to get the groceries and household goods they need from the retailers they love like Costco. For many people, we know that part of their grocery shopping experience goes beyond fresh produce, meat, seafood and pantry staples, and also includes getting much-needed medications,” Instacart President Nilam Ganenthiran said in a statement. “We’re proud to partner with Costco to make online prescription delivery possible for consumers during this critical time.
“With our total order volume up more than 400% year over year last week, and more people than ever turning to Instacart, we want to continue to bring all the aisles of the grocery store online to better serve customers,” Ganenthiran added.
Instacart noted that the prescription service now enables Costco customers to complete their entire shopping trip online — from groceries and household goods to prescription medicines — and have it delivered to their door. Costco and Instacart began delivery of groceries and household products in 2016 and had since expanded the service to all Costco clubs.
The prescription delivery service works as follows: Club members receive a text from their Costco pharmacy when their script is ready, and the message includes a link with the option to schedule delivery. Upon clicking the link, pharmacy patients are redirected to Costco’s website, where they can confirm their prescription, sign into their Costco account and add groceries and household items to their Instacart Costco delivery order.
Customers ordering prescriptions from Costco through Instacart must be older than 18 and enter their date of birth at checkout and present a valid government ID at the time of delivery, Instacart said. Prescription orders are delivered in a sealed, tamper-proof bag. Costco members can schedule delivery up to one week in advance, but Instacart recommends that they request delivery as soon as they receive notification that their prescription is ready.
To promote safety during the COVID-19 outbreak, Instacart said it has introduced contactless prescription delivery in participating states for most medications, allowing its personal shoppers to scan a customer’s ID for verification, without a signature.
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