A world-first pharmacy model is set to shake up the prescription-medicines industry – and it’s Kiwis who will benefit.
NZ-owned and operated, ZOOM Pharmacy brings your prescription medicines to you, instead of the other way around.
The company’s founder, David Taylor says international data clearly shows that door-to-door delivery will make a huge difference to New Zealanders.
“If you’re someone who takes medicines every day to manage a condition, it can end up being a struggle to get down to your chemist every couple of months. That means people run out and maybe skip weeks or months. That can really impact on their health in the long term.”
ZOOM’s unique service helps avoid this entirely. Patients or their GPs post or fax in their prescriptions, and ZOOM couriers the medicines within two days, discretely packaged. If you use a patient portal, it’s easy too – just choose ZOOM as your pharmacy for repeat prescriptions. Patients are kept updated via text, and ZOOM then continues to check in. By liaising with their GP and delivering timely reminders, refills or new prescriptions happen seamlessly. ZOOM’s specially developed app makes it even simpler, but David says patients don’t have to use the app if they don’t want to.
“You can email us or give us a call during business hours – you’ll always get one of our New Zealand-qualified pharmacists on the other end of the phone,” he says.
Robots improve customer service
That customer service is facilitated by their automatic-dispensary equipment. This best-in-breed tech means pharmacists have more time to spend with patients on the phone.
ZOOM’s lead pharmacist Dale Griffiths, a community pharmacist for over 35 years, says, “When working in a pharmacy, pharmacists can find it’s hard to find time to talk to people about their medications. At ZOOM, talking to people over the phone works really well for patients, as the pressure of being in a busy retail pharmacy is gone”.
“Our customers really value the time we can spend giving them advice and answering their questions.”
One of their regular customers agrees:
“I love how friendly the pharmacists have been to me. ZOOM’s easy to use, it gets delivered, you don’t honestly have to do much apart from download the app and pay for the prescription. The rest is done for you,” she says.
Easier access to medicines helps keep Kiwis healthy
That ease-of-use, says David, doesn’t just make life easier for his customers – it also keeps them healthier.
“The reality for most people is that if they don’t feel unwell, it’s really, really easy to just let things slide, even though they know they should be taking their medicines regularly. Life just gets in the way!” he says. “Our big goal is to take the hassle out of medicines, so it’s easy for people to keep on top of their prescriptions.”
Unsubsidised and subsidised medicines, delivered
While medicine deliveries aren’t new, ZOOM Pharmacy is quite different from a so-called ‘online chemist’.
Dispensing from their purpose-built HQ in Auckland, their contracts with NZ DHBs mean they can deliver both subsidised and unsubsidised medications to people throughout the country. They work only with prescriptions, and each is overseen by one of their New Zealand-trained pharmacists.
In most cases, shipping is free, and ZOOM charges normal prescription fees. Patients who need unsubsidised medicines will find they pay less with ZOOM too – because the pharmacy doesn’t have the overheads of a bricks-and-mortar store.
Another ZOOM regular, says the service from “very helpful” pharmacists was a plus, but that price was the biggest factor for her.
“It’s great having a way to get cheaper, affordable prescription medicines,” she says.
A world first
David says their mix of high-tech robotics and super-helpful team can deliver a service that’s not been seen anywhere else in the world.
The complexities of setting this up can’t be understated, he says, but from a patient point of view, it’s really quite a simple proposition.
“We’re like a normal chemist, only better – it’s the same medicine, and filled by qualified Kiwi pharmacists, but our customers get a much better, more personal and convenient service,” says David.