Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Medications on your doorstep"

(Published April 19, 2008 in the Guadalajara Reporter)

The new pharmaceutical company Medicity understands that for a very sick patient, a trip out of bed and to the pharmacy may be an effort. Or for an elderly diabetic patient, that simply locating the correct medications, their combinations and dosages every day is a challenge. As easy as ordering a pizza by delivery, Medicity brings medications right to your doorstep.

Delivery riders use Medicity’s colorful motorbikes to bring medications to customers’ doors within 30 minutes of an order being placed by telephone.

The company’s working concept is explained in three parts: a warehouse stocked with pharmaceuticals, from aspirin to difficult-to-find chronic medications to homeopathic remedies; knowledgeable medical consultants posted at a 24-hour call center; and a flock of motorcycles dispatched from various points in the metropolitan area (Guadalajara, Zapopan, Tlaquepaque and Tonala), arriving promptly at a patient’s doorstep with medication in hand.

To have medications delivered at home, a patient simply dials 8000-8000 (a local, not 1-800, number) and speaks briefly to a sales consultant to explain his needs. Doctors are also available to clarify questions about a prescription and to verify those called in.

A trial of the service proved any doubts I had wrong. After speaking with a representative and soliciting an order, a courier dressed like a fluorescent ghostbuster arrived at my house in under a half hour driving a cute blue-hooded Medicity motocycle. The price of my order was the same as what I pay at a regular pharmacy, though 20 pesos less than normal retail value, according to my invoice. A complimentary pill box was thrown in the bag.

Delivery can also be arranged on Medicity’s website. There is no minimum purchase required, and almost all forms of payment are acceptable, including cash, credit and debit. The service is completely free and phone reps insist no tip is required-it is included in the price.

An agent at the corporate office said that Medicity’s services are unique to Guadalajara, and have been in existence for only a month. Unfortunately, for the time being there are no English-speaking doctors available.

Medicity explains that its services are aimed at various groups of people who may have difficulty purchasing medication at a pharmacy, for whatever reason, including people who cannot drive, patients with an at-home emergency, patients with chronic illnesses who wish to pre-schedule all dosages (Medicity will program deliveries), and those who are simply too sick to leave the house.