AstraZeneca has expanded its direct-to-patient delivery service in the US, adding a new Nexium Direct programme that allows patients to order medication online through the brand website.

The delivery service is tied to AstraZeneca’s www.purplepill.com website and builds on the service the company launched in 2011 for its breast cancer drug Arimidex.

Patients need a doctor’s prescription to register on the programme, and can enrol online. During and after enrolment they have access to 24 hour support via email or phone, along with the opportunity to arrange automatic refills and free home delivery of Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium).

The medications – in 30- or 90-day quantities – are dispensed by a team of registered pharmacists and certified pharmacy technicians available through a collaboration with Eagle Pharmacy, an AstraZeneca pharmacy partner.

The enrolment process requires patients to provide information on drug allergies, medical conditions, current prescription and OTC medicines, and herbal and vitamin supplements. Pharmacists can therefore build up a medical history for the patient before fulfilling the prescription.

Most patients buying their medication from Nexium Direct will pay no more than $25 a month, said AstraZeneca – this means they are eligible for standard Nexium savings without needing to have a savings card.

“People are taking a more active, participatory role in their healthcare. With this in mind, AstraZeneca has created Nexium Direct, giving patients and prescribers a choice,” said Linda Palczuk, vice president, cornerstone and commercial excellence.

The launch of Nexium Direct comes as pharma is increasingly moving towards a more holistic healthcare service that puts patients at the centre of care. This includes improved relationships with pharmacies and a drive towards homecare.