The gig economy has continued to boom, with many independent contractors enrolling in rideshare and last-mile delivery programs. This trend has caught on to several other industries, including healthcare.
Prescription delivery service is similar to the role of medical couriers, except instead of transporting hospital and pharmacy equipment, a prescription delivery service focuses exclusively on that.
If you’re looking to get into the gig economy while doing something that really helps people, prescription delivery is the job for you. Let’s take a look at how you can get into the prescription delivery industry as an independent contractor.
What’s the demand for prescription delivery drivers?
E-commerce hasn’t only become the primary way people do their retail shopping, it’s also becoming the primary way people order food, groceries, and even prescription medications.
To meet this demand, many retail pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart have partnered with courier services to offer same-day delivery of prescription meds. There are also many small, local pharmacies offering similar services, but the largest chain pharmacies in metro areas are where you’ll find the most demand for delivery drivers.
So at this point you’re likely still wondering how to start a prescription delivery service as an independent contractor, because you typically don’t walk into a pharmacy and announce that you want to become a delivery driver.
What you need to do is research which local courier services are utilized by particular high-volume retail pharmacies for same-day delivery, then apply as a driver to those companies. It’s very rare that a pharmacy operates its own courier service.
What are the requirements of a prescription delivery driver?
The requirements are very similar to what is typically required of courier drivers – a clean driving background, and your own vehicle. However, because you’ll be transporting PHI (Public Health Information), you’ll also need to have HIPAA-compliance certification.
HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which is a federal law that protects the privacy of patients’ health information. While you think this might only be hospital records or the like, it actually applies to a wide range of data – including those white labels on prescription bottles that bear patient names.
Because of this, a prescription delivery driver will undergo a bit more scrutiny than your typical independent courier, as you’ll be expected to know specific protocols for handling and transporting such sensitive information.
For a bit of fun, you can pretend you’re a secret agent delivering highly classified intelligence – that comparison is a bit hyperbolic, but it’s not far from the truth. In fact, having that mindset will serve you well, because the penalties for breaching HIPAA compliance can be severe.
Here’s where things can get a bit technical. While companies themselves are often the recipient of penalties for their employees committing HIPAA violations, subcontractors can be held liable as well, since an independent contractor could technically be considered a business owner. This means you can be held personally liable for your own actions – even if the action is taking place on behalf of a company.
So those massive fines and jail times we hear about for HIPAA violations could actually become yours if you’re found liable.
How much do prescription delivery drivers earn?
The average salary for prescription delivery drivers is $36,928 per year or $18 per hour. This is of course only the national average, and it depends on several factors including your experience level, and whether you’re earning a commission on delivery, or if you’re simply getting paid by the hour.
You also have to consider the rate of pay for courier services, which is generally around $9 to $14 per hour depending on the region you live in. In many cases, it’s best to find work with a professional courier service that offers benefits and maintains its own fleet.
Interesting Related Article: “What Is Pharmacy Delivery?“