Ireland’s first mobile pharmacist service offers cross-border prices

Ireland’s first mobile pharmacist service is offering home call-outs to review prescriptions and arrange a next-day drug delivery.

The subscription service is being provided Healthwave, a Dublin-based pharmacy that promised cross-border price-matching when it opened just over a year ago.

More than 10,000 people have paid an annual fee of €25 to join the pharmacy’s saving scheme called HealthPass.

Under Irish law, customers have to present their prescription to the pharmacist before their medication can be dispensed.

Many people have been travelling long distances to the pharmacy in Dundrum to save an average of 50% on prescription medication.

Soon after opening, the pharmacist began offering a free nationwide home delivery.

Healthwave founder Shane O’Sullivan, who graduated from University College Cork in 2008, said the mobile service would let customers book a home visit by a pharmacist who would review their prescription

“Our philosophy is not only to provide the best pricing, but the best pharmacy service to our customers, so we feel it is only appropriate that our Healthwave pharmacists should be available where our customers are located,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

He said many of their customers had resumed their treatment after finding that it was affordable with HealthPass.

“Medication can cost up to seven times more in some Republic of Ireland pharmacies than their counterparts in Northern Ireland,” said Mr O’Sullivan. “The high cost is the number one reason for non-adherence to prescription instructions.”

He said the mobile service would allow people who were quite ill to be checked by a qualified pharmacist.

“In this way, we are providing the in-store experience to customers but in the comfort of their home, while also complying with important pharmacy legislation,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

Healthwave, a member of the Irish Pharmacy Union, is to open outlets in Cork and Galway later in the year. It now has customers in every county in the Republic.

The pharmacy charges subscribers €2.95 for a Salbutamol inhaler that commonly retail for about €10 in other pharmacies.

A breast cancer treatment drug, Anastrozole, costs €17.90 for a 28-day supply, compared to €94.55 from a pharmacy chain.

A 28-day supply of aspirin costs €30.70 compared to €85.69 from another pharmacy on Dublin’s southside.

The Irish Pharmacy Union that represents more than 2,000 pharmacies said Healthwave was further evidence of the highly competitive Irish pharmacy market.

With the price of medicines falling as generic drugs become available, pharmacies are exploring new business and pricing models.

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Ireland’s first mobile pharmacist service offers cross-border prices
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