Getting over the counter drugs in Israel? Wolt expands services

Wolt announced that it has partnered with Be Pharma in order to offer non-prescription drugs with immediate delivery in under an hour.

 A courier working with Wolt, a meal delivery app service, rides a scooter as he delivers an order from a restaurant, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, in Tel Aviv, Israel July 9, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
A courier working with Wolt, a meal delivery app service, rides a scooter as he delivers an order from a restaurant, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, in Tel Aviv, Israel July 9, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

While DoorDash, Instacart and Uber Eats are currently dominating the United States and bringing grocery and food delivery to a new level of convenience, Israel is lagging behind — though the latest development from food delivery service Wolt is a step in the right direction.

Wolt has announced that it has partnered with Be Pharma to offer nonprescription drugs with immediate delivery in less than an hour.

It sounds like a great idea, but don’t forego your walk to the pharmacy just yet: The move, in cooperation with the Health Ministry, is off to a slow start. Service is only available from two pharmacy branches in central Israel, limiting service to Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Givatayim and Bnei Brak. Wolt said it intends to expand the service to its entire service range, including from Haifa to Beersheba.

Is Wolt Israel about to do immediate delivery of prescription drugs? 

If the project manages to gain momentum, however, it offers a pretty hefty value proposition. Among the drugs available for delivery are painkillers, children’s medicines, sleep medicines, throat and stomach pain relief and the morning-after pill.

According to Lior Eshkol, Wolt Israel’s general manager, the service already offers customers the ability to order certain goods from pharmacies, “so it is natural that we expand the shopping basket to include medicines from [those] pharmacies in the application.”

 Ordering pharmaceutical drugs on Wolt.  (credit: WOLT) Ordering pharmaceutical drugs on Wolt. (credit: WOLT)

Medicines are among the leading search terms used within the app by customers, indicating strong demand for the ability to have over-the-counter drugs delivered to front doors across the country, she said.

Wolt likely sees its kindred companies, such as DoorDash, operating in the US and is well aware that it could offer that kind of service.

According to Eshkol, it is not necessarily the company’s fault that not everything is available to purchase from its app.

“The Health Ministry has done an important service here to drug consumers and the public health by allowing patients to order drugs anywhere they choose,” she said. “This is another step in the consumer revolution that will make it possible to order any product with immediate delivery anywhere the customer chooses.”

“This is another step in the consumer revolution that will make it possible to order any product with immediate delivery anywhere the customer chooses.”

Wolt Israel’s General Manager, Lior Eshkol

Earlier this year, Wolt expanded its services to Haifa, a long-awaited extension of its service. “Haifa residents deserve to enjoy an excellent service experience and the revolution of instant shipments that we lead, which many Israelis already enjoy,” Eshkol said. “After three and a half years in Israel… we are all excited and ready to serve the local businesses and residents of the city.”