CareCredit Women's Health May 2024 Banner

Pfizer Reportedly Plans D2C COVID and Migraine Drug Platform

Pfizer

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is reportedly creating an online platform selling anti-COVID and migraine medications.

The platform, the subject of a Wednesday (May 1) Financial Times (FT) report, comes as drug makers are pushing to sell their products directly to consumers.

According to the report, sources say Pfizer’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) platform would include the anti-COVID drug Paxlovid, the combined COVID and flu test Lucira, and a migraine nasal spray called Zavzpret.

The website is expected to go online later in the year and would link consumers in the U.S. with independent telehealth consultants to prescribe the medications, while a drug-dispensing partner would fill and ship the prescriptions, the sources told the FT.

PYMNTS has contacted Pfizer for comment but has not yet gotten a reply.

The news follows January’s launch of fellow drugmaker Eli Lilly’s LillyDirect, a D2C platform for obesity, migraine and diabetes patients.

As covered here, LillyDirect offers things such as access to independent healthcare providers and direct home delivery of some Lilly medicines via third-party pharmacy dispensing services.

David A. Ricks, Lilly’s chair and CEO, said the platform is aimed at easing the burden of patients living with chronic illnesses as they try to navigate the American health system.

“With LillyDirect, our goal is to relieve some of those burdens by simplifying the patient experience to help improve outcomes,” Ricks said. “LillyDirect offers more choices in how and where people access healthcare, including a convenient home delivery option to fill Lilly medicines they have been prescribed.”

Taking a deep dive into LillyDirect soon after its launch, PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster noted the company’s claim that it can offer better pricing to patients with a prescription for one of their medications. That, she said, could be a big benefit, provided the pricing is more competitive than other online alternatives. And it should be, especially for drugs that may not be covered by insurance and payment plans may be available to qualifying patients.

This factor, Webster argued, makes LillyDirect.com more about disrupting the retail pharmacy channel for patients with existing scripts than transforming the nature of healthcare delivery.

“Unless, of course, the LillyDirect strategy is about using the popularity of GLP-1 weight loss drugs to drive consumers to their site to fill a prescription given to them by a doctor who has prescribed it,” she added.

“That assumes that consumers know Zepbound as a name brand, that their doctor feels comfortable prescribing it, that they are directed to LillyDirect somehow to get it filled and refilled, and Eli Lilly is the name brand pharma company behind it all,” Webster continued. “You know what they say about assumptions.”