The Co-operative Group, better-known as the Co-op, is entering the digital pharmacy market by launching a smartphone app this weekend.
Following the acquisition of the healthcare technology start-up, Dimec, last year, the British consumer co-operative created a new app that will enable patients to order medication, including repeat prescriptions, in real time over their handheld devices.
According to the latest NHS statistics, digital pharmacy currently 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.
The latest move by the Co-op is seen as an ambitious plan as the group decides to return to healthcare after selling its chain of bricks-and-mortar pharmacies to Well Pharmacy for £620 million in October 2014.
The Managing Director of Co-op Health, Tim Davies, says pharmacy is at the start of a digital revolution, as consumers increasingly look for more flexibility and convenience in accessing their medication.
“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,” Davies adds.