ASX-listed MedAdvisor has fast-tracked plans to launch an “Uber” for pharmacy delivery services as part of the company’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
MedAdvisor (ASX: MDR) shares have soared more than 25% today on the news to close at 42 cents, with the company’s CEO, Robert Read, saying they’d skip a pilot phase and go straight to roll out.
“Fast-tracking the launch of MedAdvisor’s medication home delivery service is necessary to help reduce panic buying, relieve pressure on pharmacists, protect patients from unnecessary exposure, and provide access to critical medications,” Read said.
MedAdvisor data shows more than 50% of orders are made after hours, while 30% of its app users are over 60 and therefore deemed high-risk if they were to contract COVID-19.
Ten-year-old MedAdvisor is used by 60% of Australian pharmacies, including TerryWhite Chemmart and Amcal, and more than one million Australians.
The CEO said orders are up more than 130% on three weeks ago and pharmacy demand for his startup’s Pay in Advance services have increased from 15% of the network a fortnight ago to nearly half the network today.
“Pharmacists don’t want to handle cash from potential COVID patients in both a delivery setting and in-store and this a smart way to avoid that,” he said.
MedAdvisor’s software will facilitate the pharmacists’ ability to claim this funding from the federal government’s recently announced $25 million support package to help them supply medications to at-risk people. .
In a signal that patients are concerned about future stock, the number of orders for Panadol alone doubled in the past week, and the dollar value of orders also increased, despite restrictions that only allow patients to get one month supply on medications and children’s Panadol moving behind the counter.
MedAdvisor has also ramped up support for its remote GP script ordering service so patients can have scripts written, filled and delivered without needing to visit a GP clinic and pharmacy.
“Australia’s GPs and pharmacists are at the frontline of this COVID-19 crisis. By boosting the technology platforms they rely on with much-needed features like online ordering and delivery, we can enable pharmacies to receive and seamlessly process medication requests and handle their payment, directly reducing the number of patients having to leave their home, and help put an end to the burden of in-store shelf stripping many of these outlets are contending with,” Read said.