Co-op set to disrupt the pharmacy market

16 May 2019

UNP Co Op 39792 Health station at 1 Vimto Gardens Salford38

  • Co-op Health launches new digital pharmacy with a repeat prescription - Co-op Health app - the first in a series of planned digital developments
  • Mutual’s first major move into a new sector since 2006
  • Co-op also to trial UK’s first click and collect lockers for prescriptions

The Co-op is launching an innovative new digital pharmacy offer, as it looks to disrupt the health sector and drive the growth of the online prescriptions market at its AGM on Saturday.¹

Aimed at serving the needs of its 4.6 million members, the new Co-op Health app is the first in a series of digital developments from the Co-op’s new Health business.

Co-op will dispense medications ordered through the app, from its new pharmacy distribution centre in Lea Green, North West England.

Currently, digital pharmacy accounts for less than 1% of England’s £9 billion prescription market, but is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. Every year one billion prescriptions are dispensed in England, 80% of which are repeat orders.²

Following the acquisition of healthcare technology start-up, Dimec last year, the Co-op has created a new app which is unique in the market. It links patients directly to their GP surgeries, through its integration with the NHS, enabling patients to order medication in real time.

People can choose to have their medication dispensed by the Co-op Health’s Pharmacy and delivered directly to their home, work or any other address in the UK. Alternatively, they can choose to have their medication dispensed by and collected from any other pharmacy in England.

In a further disruption to the market, the Co-op will be extending this choice for customers as it trials a UK first click and collect locker in the coming weeks. People will be able to collect repeat prescriptions safely and conveniently from secure lockers within Co-op’s Food Stores, by using a unique code or pin.³

Furthermore, later this year people will be able to book and manage their GP appointments via the app, helping to free up thousands of GP practices across England.

The move back into health comes nearly five years after the Co-op sold its bricks and mortar pharmacy business to Bestway Group in 2014 for £620 million. The Co-op’s return to the health sector, with a capital light, digital offer, is the first major move into a new industry sector since 2006, when the mutual launched its legal services business.

Tim Davies, Managing Director of Co-op Health comments:

“The pharmacy sector is at the start of a digital revolution, as consumers increasingly look for more flexibility and convenience in accessing their medication.

“Our offer will give customers a range of ways to get hold of their medication, with the knowledge that the service is being provided by a brand they know and can trust, in a way that best suits them.

“This app is just the start for our Health business. We know 40% of the financial burden on the NHS is due to preventable diseases, and as we grow our Health business we want to put the emphasis on proactive health care and empower people to take control of their own wellbeing.”

Tim (1)

Co-op recently showcased this by launching a pilot of six health stations across its food stores in Manchester. The machines which are aimed at helping people recognise the key risk factors impacting health allow people to record their weight, height, BMI, measure their blood pressure and get digital advice on how to improve their health for free.*

Steve Murrells, CEO of Co-op comments:

“The launch of Co-op Health takes us back into a sector we know well and one where our difference can be felt.

“By harnessing the power of our digital and physical assets, we will deliver a range of distinctive Co-op Health solutions that will benefit our members and their communities alike.”

Ends

Media Contacts:

Catherine Turner: Catherine.Turner@coop.co.uk / 07834 090783
Emily Penkett: Emily.Penkett@coop.co.uk / 07738621201
Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @CoopUKPress

Notes to Editors

A selection of high res images are available
¹ The app currently has 67% coverage across England. This will increase to 98% by the end of the year.
² https://psnc.org.uk/funding-and-statistics/nhs-statistics/ - NHS statistics show prescribing volumes and average item value for 2018.
³ The Co-op’s click and collect lockers will be launched as a trial in 5 Co-op Food stores in the North West
* Health station trial is currently taking place in six of our Co-op Food stores in Manchester

About the Co-op

The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, health, insurance and legal services. It has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates 2,600 food stores, over 1,000 funeral homes and it provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited. It has more than 63,000 colleagues and an annual revenue of £9.5bn.