There’s never been a better time to build a pharmaceutical delivery business. In 2020 the pharmaceutical delivery market sat at 1,430 billion USD and is projected to reach more than 2,015 billion USD by 2025. This growth is partially due to government measures during the Covid-19 pandemic that prevented many people from purchasing their pharmaceuticals in a traditional way. However, it is clear that demand for pharma delivery isn’t going away any time soon. It can be more convenient, safe, and reliable than visiting pharmacies in person, which are critical benefits as health is a top priority.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know to start your own pharma delivery business. Read on to learn what questions you must ask yourself, how to discover your niche, and which laws you should be aware of when entering into this business.
How Do I Start a Pharmaceutical Delivery Service?
Starting a pharmaceutical delivery service can be divided into four separate but crucial steps.
1: Knowing your Market.
2: Laws and Regulations.
3: The Hiring Process.
4: Routing Software.
Understanding the market is key to figuring out how to maximize sales. Familiarizing yourself with the laws and regulations is critical as the pharma delivery industry revolves around sensitive information and high-priority products. The hiring process is fundamental for optimizing your business as you’ll need a team of trained, trusted couriers. Last but not least, every successful pharmaceutical delivery service runs on route planning software to get deliveries where they need to be.
Step 1: Knowing Your Market
The better you understand the market, the more effective your business plan will be. The first thing you must do is self-analyze to see where your business would fit into the market. Knowing where you fit in the market can help you visualize where you would like your business to go and how to get there. Some questions you may ask yourself are:
1. What is the current state of my pharmaceutical business?
Your current state will determine how you should set up your future plan. Is your pharmaceutical business already running? Are you looking to add an additional delivery service? If you already have a pharmaceutical business which is up and running then your customers are your pre-existing clientele. If you’re starting from scratch, you might consider partnering with established pharmacies to access their customer base.
2. Who would you be delivering to? Individuals or hospitals?
Hospital deliveries will be much larger and will require constant need of refilling on a regular schedule, meaning they’re a consistent client. On the other hand, if you are delivering to individuals, the job can become more complex. The package delivery size will be considerably smaller and variable, and the route for the delivery will be longer and require more frequent stops.
3. Is my market restricted to medications only?
Covid-19 has shown us that there is not only a high demand for pharmaceuticals but also for medical equipment, namely in this case, ventilators. You may want to consider expanding into these sorts of deliveries as well. Delivering medical equipment such as oxygen tanks, beds, ventilators, rehab equipment and more will incur additional startup costs and driver training, but could pay off if there is an opening in your market for such equipment.
Step 2: Laws and Regulations
The laws and regulations governing pharmaceutical delivery businesses vary greatly by state and region. Here are some questions you should ask yourself regarding the laws and qualifications.
1. Is my delivery driver qualified?
A pharmaceutical courier needs to have a minimum of a high school diploma and be at least 21 years old. They must be able to lift packages weighing from 30-75 pounds, and have the tenacity to sit for long periods of time. Additionally, drivers handling medical equipment should be trained to transport and install medical equipment safely and accurately.
2. Where can I deliver the pharmaceuticals?
It is important to note that deliveries cannot be made to P.O boxes as signatures from the recipient are almost always required. Further, the delivery addresses must match the addresses on the medicine without any variation. This means you can’t drop off medication at the client’s friends’ or family’s houses either.
3. What kind of database do I need to maintain?
Delivering medicine will require you to deal with confidential information, and this may require you to have written documentation on what prescriptions are being filled. The degree of documentation will vary based on the laws in your area. In most cases, private medical information must be stored securely so not every employee can easily access it.
4. Where can I find my local laws and regulations?
Below are some resources you can use to look up the laws and regulations in your area.
- FDA Code of Regulations (for the United States)
- NHS Specifications and Guidance for Delivering Pharmaceuticals (for the United Kingdom)
- Transportation of Controlled Substances (For Canada)
Step 3: The Hiring Process
Finding a good pharmaceutical delivery person is not as simple as finding a qualified FedEx or UPS driver. Your employees will have to attain specific licenses which will allow them to do this job.
Some of the required knowledge for a medical courier include:
1. Knowledge about setting up oxygen equipment
2. Instructing the patients how to use the equipment
3. Cleaning and resetting the equipment
4. Setting up the CPAP machines
To find couriers with these skill sets, we recommend using job search websites that filter applicants by credentials. You can find the right drivers for your pharmaceutical delivery company on sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn.
Step 4: Optimization
Now that you have attained some knowledge on setting up your medical courier company, it is time to discuss route optimization. You may work harder than any of the competition, but if you do not have your routes optimized, you’ll likely fall behind.
This is where Straightaway comes in. Straightaway is the preferred route planner for pharmaceutical delivery as it optimizes for as many customers as possible in the smallest amount of time. Here are some of the tools and integrations used by Straightaway which will help you optimize yourself while simultaneously outperforming your competition.
- Snap Photo Scheduling: With this modern tech, you can simply take a snapshot of your list of addresses, and Straightaway will map the fastest route between those locations.
- Stop Order Optimization: Straightaway’s algorithms are capable of organizing the fastest order of stops on the routes. This capability can analyze up to 250 different stops in a matter of seconds. This algorithm, which is an industry leader, will also take into account speed limits, weather, road closures, and of course traffic, all in real time!
- Navigation: Straightaway realizes the dangers of having a distracted driver switching between apps. This is why Straightaway has incorporated hands-free, turn-by-turn navigation. This approach to navigation eliminates the need for switching app screens while on the road.
The average delivery driver who utilizes Straightaway will be able to shorten their route by more than an hour. Saving time will mean saving money on mileage, more satisfied customers, and an increase in volume of stops per day, to name a few benefits.
Let Straightaway Lead the Way
The pharmaceutical delivery business is booming on all fronts, and you can become a leader in your local delivery market. To achieve this success, remember to study your market, know the regulations, hire the right people, and utilize the best technology. In this arena, the best technology is Straightaway route planner.
You can learn more about the pricing for Straightaway here!