By Kirsten Korosec
November 6, 2017

CVS Health will start delivering prescriptions to customers’ doors for free in early 2018 in an effort to offset declining in-store sales and help maintain its dominance as Amazon considers diving into the pharmacy business.

CVS announced Monday it will offer free next-day prescription delivery from all 9,700 store locations next year. The drugstore giant will provide same-day prescription delivery in select markets, including Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and San Francisco in early 2018.

The company is kicking off its same-day prescription delivery feature in Manhattan on December 4. CVS Health operates the Caremark pharmacy benefits manager as well as the CVS drugstore chain.

The prescriptions as well as a curated selection of over-the-counter products will be delivered directly from CVS Pharmacy in secure tamper-proof packaging right to customers’ doors to assure complete privacy, the company said.

CVS Pharmacy is also expanding its partnership with Instacart to offer personal shopping at 2,600 CVS Pharmacy stores across the country for delivery of front store products, including healthy food choices, beauty products and over-the-counter medications. The company said it plans to expand the service to reach 50% of U.S. households by year end.

The move to offer prescription deliveries comes as Amazon weighs its entry into the pharmaceutical business.

Amazon has won regulatory approval from multiple states to become a wholesale pharmaceutical distributor, including Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, Alabama, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Michigan, Connecticut, Tennessee and Oregon.

CVS is taking other action to stave off future competitors. The company is in talks to buy health insurer Aetna in what could be in what could be a $66 billion deal, the Wall Street Journal reported in October.

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