Shoppers Drug Mart partners with Maple to deliver online medical consults

In an effort to reduce strain on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 crisis, Shoppers Drug Mart is working with the virtual healthcare platform Maple to provide medical consultations for minor ailments. The retailer is covering the cost of the consultations.

Maple launched an advertising campaign just last week that focused on the benefit of fast and easy—but paid-for—doctor consultations for minor ailments such as pink eye. Virtual care is not funded by provincial governments, and Shoppers wants more people to use the services as a way to “help flatten the COVID-19 curve.” A one-time consultation with a doctor through Maple starts at $49.

The services will be available on the Shoppers website between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. until March 23.

“At Shoppers Drug Mart our primary goal is to help Canadians live life well and that matters now more than ever,” said Shoppers president Jeff Leger. “In an effort to help flatten the curve, we’re doing everything we can to support Canadians while encouraging social distancing.

“Through this partnership, we are removing the barrier to virtual access to physicians, providing safer access to care for both patients and physicians.”

The virtual primary care visits will include diagnosing minor ailments and providing prescriptions for those who are unable to get access to a physician. Consultations can be done through an app or website, by text, video or audio chat.

Maple also announced late Monday that starting Tuesday (March 17) it could offer screenings with a live doctor for Ontario and B.C. residents, with costs covered by provincial health programs.

The Shoppers’ announcement comes a day after it announced via Twitter that it would also dedicate its first hour of shopping to customers in need of assistance—including seniors and those living with disabilities—and that it would offer the 20% Senior Day discount on all regular priced items for that first hour each day.

After not posting anything on Twitter since early December, Shoppers has been active on the social platform in recent days. Last week, as people rushed to buy supplies in preparation for “social distancing,” many posted angry tweets about empty shelves and expensive toilet paper. The brand’s social team responded to each post, assuring people that toilet paper was regular price, and they are doing everything they can to restock.

David Brown