Will E-Pharmacies become the norm?

The days of waiting at CVS are coming to an end with the widespread adoption of e-commerce.

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Aug 16, 2020

4 minutes to read

Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.

Your neighborhood pharmacist has a new address – he’s now on the web. While physical CVS and Walgreens can still be found in thousands of US cities, and LloydsPharmacy is a dominant chain in much of Europe, the days of waiting – or even drive-thru – for your meds are fast. vanish into the past.

Welcome to the e-pharmacy. Much like e-commerce, e-pharmacy is exactly what it looks like: pharmacists take drug orders online which are then delivered directly to the recipient. Unlike so many other industries, the e-pharmacy market is not fueled by millennials or millennials, but rather baby boomers and should be a $ 155.4 billion industry by 2026 – and that’s only in the United States.

Related: How pharmacies cope with lockdown

Much like telemedicine which allows patients to connect with world-class physicians from the comfort of their own homes, the online pharmacy industry has a number of advantages, with convenience being at the top of this list. According to Mayo Clinic, convenience was the motivator for over 50% of people who used online pharmacies (44% of customers said lower cost was their main reason for choosing one).

Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a push among people looking for e-pharmacy as an alternative to the risk of going to a traditional pharmacy. There is also the advantage of greater accessibility. Since traditional pharmacies keep a limited inventory, customers may not always have access to the medications they need. However, as online pharmacies pool their supplies, they have better access to some drugs that are difficult to find.

There is also the advantage of discretion. In addition to providing everything from general headache medications to cholesterol and diabetes medications, online pharmacies provide medications that some patients may be more reserved about acquiring, such as Viagra. or the morning after pill. The script can be completed and delivered in as little as 24 hours with discreet packaging to ensure confidentiality.

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Despite the convenience, discretion and attractiveness of reduced drug costs to consumers, electronic pharmacies face challenges. Online pharmacies tend to fall into three main categories: independent online-only pharmacies, online branches of “brick and mortar” pharmacies, and sites representing a partnership between neighborhood pharmacies.

The United States and Europe have largely succeeded in circumventing concerns on the potential of online pharmacies as a dangerous link for drugs sold online without being prescribed by a doctor or with bad advice. For prescription-only drugs, an online pharmacy must receive a legally valid prescription before a drug is dispensed. Essentially, they work the same as a normal pharmacy and you will need a paper prescription or electronic prescription from your healthcare professional.

As for the concern of illegal online pharmacies shipping all variety of expired or unsafe drugs across international borders and deceiving consumers. To combat this, the European Union issued a logo for all legal and licensed pharmacies. Likewise, the United States Food and Drug Administration has a guide to help consumers determine if the online pharmacy in question is legitimate and safe.

The idea that the drug could come from more than one state or even a foreign country and that there is no trace of verified origin is also a misconception. Any medication from a verified online pharmacy will always be tracked and any inappropriate product can be traced back to its manufacturer. The transparency of the system is of the utmost importance in order to maintain credibility.

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India has seen his own struggles with the growing e-pharmacy market and almost half of online orders are rejected due to various prescribing errors. The country was slow to update its 1940 Drugs and Cosmetics Act with the internet, despite the emergence of e-commerce. A multitude of regulations and explain the unfavorable growth of the industry and e-pharmacies constitute only 3 percent pharmaceutical sales in India

Just as e-pharmacies can provide life-saving medicines and enable people in rural areas of the United States and United Kingdom to make more informed decisions about their health, they offer a huge benefit to Indian consumers who do not. ‘may not have a traditional pharmacist nearby. proximity.

The benefits of e-pharmacies clearly outweigh the obstacles that stand in the way of the industry and with consumers staying at home and shopping online more than ever, e-pharmacies are just filling in more. of prescriptions.

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