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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Retail giant expands its digital health offering in new acquisition

Health Industry Hub | June 14, 2023 |

Digital & Innovation: In a move that solidifies its presence in the thriving telehealth sector and highlights the growing importance of digital health services in the country, Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API), a subsidiary of retail giant Wesfarmers which owns Coles, has announced its agreement to acquire InstantScripts, a telehealth business in Australia. The deal, valued at approximately $135 million, marks a significant milestone for both companies.

InstantScripts, a five-year-old startup, has established itself as a key player in the digital health space by providing a wide range of innovative services. These include telehealth consultations, online prescriptions, medical certificates, blood test requests, health management plans, specialist referrals, and even prescribing services and injectable products through InstantCosmetics. With its commitment to accessibility and convenience, InstantScripts operates seven days a week, from 6 am to midnight, catering to the needs of over 1 million registered users.

The acquisition of InstantScripts will see it become part of the Wesfarmers Health division, which owns Priceline Pharmacy, Pharmacist Advice, and Soul Pattinson Chemist groups. Emily Amos, Managing Director of Wesfarmers Health, expressed her excitement about the deal, emphasising how it aligns with the company’s broader focus on digital health and their mission to simplify and enhance Australians’ health, beauty, and wellness experiences.

“Telehealth has emerged as a crucial service that complements traditional healthcare delivery,” said Amos. “InstantScripts provides flexible services available at short notice and outside of regular consultation hours, making it accessible to patients in remote areas and those who face difficulties visiting a GP. This acquisition enhances our portfolio and enables us to invest in the growth of digital health services, further benefiting our patients.”

Amos also noted the complementary nature of InstantScripts within the existing Wesfarmers Health ecosystem and highlighted the potential for synergy between InstantScripts and the company’s pharmacy and Clear Skincare networks. Leveraging the expertise and relationships of Wesfarmers Health, the aim is to strengthen InstantScripts’ clinical governance framework and improve clinical outcomes for patients.

Richard Skimin, Chief Operating Officer of InstantScripts, expressed his enthusiasm about the acquisition and the new ownership structure. “Our continuous improvements in clinical governance provide a solid foundation for further growth,” he stated. Skimin’s optimism stems from the belief that Wesfarmers Health’s involvement will bring exciting opportunities for InstantScripts to expand and thrive.

InstantScripts, initially founded by Asher Freilich, a former healthcare investment banker who retrained as a doctor, has attracted investments from various stakeholders, including Perennial Private Investments, Microequities Asset Management, and Bailador Technology Investments.

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