Design Critique: Capsule Pharmacy

What is Capsule?

Capsule is a digital pharmacy that delivers prescribed medication straight to patient’s doors in four of New York’s five boroughs (Staten Island excluded), on the same day and free of charge. Its goal is to create a more friendly and seamless experience for patients and doctors, facilitating the logistics and access to medication remotely and providing a better experience of health services. It can be described as the “Uber of pharmacies”. The app-based company describes itself as “anything but a chain type of pharmacy,” and offers text and call services with a real pharmacist (not a chatbot) on demand. It has digitized the entire pharmacy experience end-to-end with proprietary technology.

Capsule’s app gives the option to patients to schedule delivery within a two-hour period, and gives users information on their co-payment and possible drug side effects.

The complexity of the interaction between prescribing doctors, pharmacies, insurance companies and patients is one reason that e-commerce has been slow to take off in pharmacy, according to the startup founder Eric Kinariwala.

In 2015 Kinariwala founded the company after a bad experience at a chain pharmacy in Manhattan when he was sick with a sinus infection. He had to wait for almost an hour in a basement pharmacy for an antibiotic prescription, only to find out they didn’t have the drug his doctor prescribed.

The company’s software also makes prescribing easier for doctors, allowing them to set up refill preferences and specify alternate drugs if a patient’s insurance won’t cover the first choice. Capsule gained momentum and has accelerated its expansion plans to meet increased demand during the pandemic, now serving Boston, Chicago and the Twin Cities. Capsule is a viable business model, and told Bloomberg it has 60,000 patients, and has about 260 employees and works with more than 30 pharmacists, according to the New York Times

Software Analysis

Capsule Pharmacy has utility, it provides a convenient experience for users to have access to their medication without having to leave their houses and facilitates interaction with doctors, which can be a crucial factor depending on the patient’s health situation. It is accessible, the user can either use the website or app from anywhere, for free, to place an order and schedule a delivery time, talk to their pharmacists or coordinate refills. It is a desirable service that facilitates patient’s life through convenience, especially for patients experiencing mobility difficulties. The app is compatible with Iphone and Android and in case there is any issue with mobile, the user just needs to access Capsule website and their medication can be ordered from there.


The idea of a pharmacy that operates remotely, delivers for free, with efficiency and fast is definitely brilliant . When it comes to the app usability, the experience is very friendly and straight forward, with simple language, examples of patients stories, the option to speak to a real person on chat or on phone (this elevates the experience from automated systems to human relations). The app also keeps record of all your prescriptions and orders in one place, so patients can always go back and check if they forget what they are on or instructions of how to take their pills.

Capsule also offers the option to manage family members prescriptions, in case the person is unable to order themselves due to any kind of limitations, disability or need.


“One of Capsule’s customers reported having to wait more than three weeks for anxiety medication. The patient, who spoke with MedPage Today on the condition of anonymity, started using Capsule after seeing an ad on the subway for free home delivery. She said the wait for medication caused her to have an anxiety attack for the first time in months.” – MedPage Today

As any other delivery service, problems such as late delivery, missing items, damaged packaging or orders that never arrived can happen with Capsule. Other concerns have emerged with courier delivery models also include security of transporting narcotics, as well as the risks of delivering drugs to the wrong patient.

Such problems can be improved by more thorough regulations towards transport of narcotics and better recruiting of couriers. Adding a feature of instant communication with the patient through the app for they to confirm right away after the medicine is marked as delivered that they received the correct product could help improve the quality of service and fixing issues.


MedPage Today