A decade ago, no one would have believed or imagined, that anyone would order a medicine from an internet site in future. But despite the strong presence of traditional pharmacies, people started preferring e pharmacies for ordering medicines. As a result, the number of e pharmacy began to dominate the internet space. With a change in consumer’s attitude, the growth of e-pharmacies (online pharmacies) has changed the face of the pharmaceutical and medical sector.
Why online pharmacies are popular ?
Online pharmacies offer good price than retail medical stores. They offer good discounts on medicines, doorstep delivery within a short time. Though they cannot deliver medicines on emergency, lower price seems to have got the attention of the people. How is it possible ? Online pharmacies have less operating cost. For example, conventional pharmacies must rent or own physical space. If the place is rented, the owner must pay for the commercial price according to the real estate market. With the monthly or annual rent added along with expenses of utilities which are termed as the operational expenses, are passed on to final product. Thereby traditional ones cannot reduce MRP.
Varieties of medicine
Traditional medical stores can stock just few hundred medicines. But online pharmacies can load many thousands of medicines due to the presence of warehouses. Besides, traditional pharmacies don’t provide alternative drugs for a particular medicine, but the user can choose numerous alternative drugs for disease, which gives a variety in an online site. With the hundreds of different drugs, all formulated to treat one specific medical condition, online pharmacies have upper hand in offering varieties, since they allow the patients to choose the drugs that best suit them. The freedom to choose is a sure way to reach the mind and heart of the consumers.
Reach and accessibility
With the online pharmacies, patients in the remote areas can access and get the medicine he/she wants. Besides, accessibility is an added feature for online pharmacies. For example, if a patient runs out of their usual drug, instead of having to find an alternative which could be not as effective, they can simply search the internet to find out which online pharmacy nearby that contains the drug in stock for fast delivery. Online pharmacies have made possible for anyone to buy drugs they wish to consume irrespective of their location.
Ordering a rare medicine through a pharmacy when the pharmaceutical company is located in a distant remote location is a tough task. With the arrival of online pharmacies, even a single drug is delivered with a span of two or three days. How ? It is due to the fact that e-pharmacies source for their drugs from all over the country or throughout the world. Almost all the online pharmacies are not limited by distance between their premises and their customers. This makes them possible for anyone to buy medicines from anywhere without any sort of obstacles. Another reason why online pharmacies are affordable is because of their low cost of operation. Conventional pharmacies must lease space. With that comes the monthly or annual rent to the property owner plus other utilities.
Dangers of online pharmacy
- Despite, a bundle of advantages, many experts have pointed out that one fifth of the medications sold through online pharmacies is fake. These drugs contain either different active ingredients or no active ingredients. As result, the drug which is consumed greatly increases the risks of adverse drug reactions or even overdose.
- Besides, while ordering medicine from overseas online pharmacies, there are risks that they could have manufactured the drug with little regard for patient safety, and they could be contaminated with dangerous chemical or adulterants.
- Since most of online pharmacies don’t follow the compulsory submission of prescription, there are dangers of ordering medications without consulting with a doctor. This leads to risks of adverse drug interactions and addiction.
The Growth of Online Pharmacies in the UK
In 2015, the government made a pledge to assist UK patients to access more online pharmacy services to help the NHS save money. It also made attempts to examine the payments of the sector to ensure the presence of efficiency, innovation and healthy competition. Today, the pharmacy is a major foundational pillar of modern medicine.
In the UK especially, competition has grown with intensity, revenues are now capped, and many expect the pharmacies to begin managing chronic conditions. For a long time, independent pharmacies have been the backbone of the country’s community, but are at risk of being rendered obsolete as more major players surface and capture the market’s value.
Online Pharmacies Save Time and Money
In England especially, online pharmacies play a great role in helping patients save both time and money on their prescriptions. An experienced pharmacist provides quality healthcare and uses their clinical expertise and practical knowledge to advise consumers on common problems such as aches, coughs, colds and healthy eating. They can also advise patients to visit a health professional when need be. For patients with a long-term condition under new prescription, online pharmacists are always ready to explain and advice on how the medicine should be taken and the side effects associated with it.
Patients tend to gather more confidence when dealing with online pharmacists, whom they have been noted to talk about very personal and sensitive symptoms and matters, unlike is the case with community services. Typically, it is safe to say that the rise of online pharmacies has changed the norm of medicine in the UK.
Online Pharmacies in US
The first online pharmacies, including drugstore.com, PlanetRx.com, and Soma.com, began to appear early in 1999. By July of that year, several hundred companies were selling pre-scription drugs on the Internet. Today, most of the early online pharmacies have consolidated, changed their business strategies, or disappeared.
The landscape is now dominated by a small number of surviving online pharmacies who, like
drugstore.com, are allied with brick-and-mortar pharmacies and aided by pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies or health plans that have adapted the mail-order pharmacy model to the Internet. Two of the major driving forces behind the consumers’ use of online pharmacies include the convenience and privacy of this new channel. However, some drug benefit designs restrict online pharmacies’ participation in retail pharmacy networks because they fear online pharmacies will erode their exclusive mail-service provider volumes.
As America’s population ages, serving Medicare beneficiaries becomes more important than ever. As of 2017, more than 42 million people were enrolled in Medicare part D plans.ii And seniors ages 50-64 filled an average of 27.6 prescriptions per person in 2017. That’s more than double the number of prescriptions for adults 26-49.iii Serving the needs of this population is more than just a retail pharmacy trend; it’s a best-practice that will always be crucial to your pharmacy’s success.
The retail pharmacy industry has entered a new period of fierce competition that is forcing pharmacies to further reduce their prescription profit margins:
- Entering 2018, preferred cost sharing networks within Medicare Part D account for 99% of prescription drug plans, thus limiting the number of retail pharmacies that are able to participate, accept lower reimbursements, and meet expanded value-based outcome requirements in return for increased store traffic.
- In the commercial space in 2018, payers continue to fight for fair and timely reimbursement models
- More collaboration between the very large chains and major payers are challenging smaller pharmacies’ ability to participate.
- Direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fee assessments continue to be the most significant profit hit on pharmacy reimbursement. Tools continue to be introduced to community pharmacies to forecast and mitigate these post-transactional assessments.
Self-care Market is More Than a Trend
Self-care and healthcare consumerism are growing, thanks in part to the shortage of and challenging access to primary care physicians, as well as mounting patient costs resulting from higher deductibles and co-payments for prescription drugs. Consumers are much more conscious of efforts to reduce personal spend, exploring opportunities to proactively avoid medical problems, identifying options to look for the least expensive prices on prescription drugs and use OTCs instead. In fact, eight in 10 consumers say they prefer using OTC self-treatments before visiting a healthcare professional.
This bullish self-care market presents a revenue opportunity for pharmacy, but it also creates its own patient-care responsibility, putting us in the position to help guide consumers to most efficacious OTC options and sometimes to gently remind them when self-care may not be enough and it is time to re-engage with a healthcare professional.
The Internet has enabled consumers to gain an advantage when choosing goods and services. One of those areas of high interest is the ability to obtain prescriptions by mail, ordering either by the phone or through the Internet. Prescription sales through mail-order have endured several starts and setbacks over the past few decades because the timing of the distribution has not matched well with the desirable target audience. Hereâs how the market has evolved, and what to expect in the next five to ten years. Mail-order market misalignment The practice and utilization of Internet/online pharmacies began in the late 1990s. Drugstore.com was one of the first safe and fully operational mail-order pharmacy with Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Site (VIPPS) certification and began to shape the industry. In some marketing situations, it is an advantage to be first-to-market, but consider the seven âPâsâ of marketing in regards to the Internet/mail-order pharmacy business (specifically, Drugstore.com and the first wave of Internet pharmacies).
- Product. This is a prescription drug service utilizing an Internet-based platform to fill prescriptions and will be delivered through the mail.
- Price. Internet/mail-order pharmacies offer competitive pricing with brick-and-mortar pharmacies.
- Place. No brick and mortar available for patient walk-in.
- Promotion. Advertising done through traditional media (TV, newspaper, radio), insurance company co-promotion, and direct mailing.
- People. Patients looking to fill prescriptions without going to the local pharmacy.
- Process. Prescription drugs called into the pharmacy or faxed, paid by credit card or check, then shipped through the mail.
- Physical evidence. Brand new concept for the pharmacy market, evidence in works.
In the next five to 10 years, mail-order pharmacies will experience a significant increase in patient utilization and number of prescriptions being dispensed. Although the top 15 pharmacies own 78.1% of the market, there is room for growth in the smaller pharmacies in the coming years. The desired generation for online/mail-order pharmacies is beginning to align with the anticipated target market. The population who up with the Internet (generation X and Millennials) are now reaching the age where an online/mail-order pharmacy would be the best option for them.
rowing internet usage worldwide, developed healthcare infrastructure and rising awareness among the user about benefits of ecommerce are some of the factors driving the growth of the market. Change in customer behavior with an increased demand for convenience is the key factors for the growth of the market. Additionally, increasing adoption of digital technology in healthcare sector is expected to fuel growth in this market.
Among the regions, North America is expected to be the largest market for online pharmacy. Growing adoption of ecommerce, increasing pharmaceutical needs and rise in geriatric population are some of the key factors that drive the growth in this region.
Increase in investments and government initiatives for improving the healthcare infrastructure in the Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at a highest rate in the coming years. The online pharmacy market in China and India have a huge potential for growth. Changing guidelines in the regions and rise in demand for customer healthcare products due to change in lifestyle is driving the market growth of these countries.
Best Pharmacy Merchant Account
As it happens with other high-risk businesses, traditional banks and some processors may refuse to open a merchant account for your online pharmacy businesses. Most credit card processors try to stay away from legal violations, chargebacks, online fraud, and other risks connected with online pharmacy business.
Today, pharmaceutical merchants enjoy increased profits. This refers especially to those cases when customers are looking for safe and legitimate nutraceutical providers who will enable them to access to products that are affordable. If you are trying to attract more customers and increase your profits, iPaytotal is the right option to choose.
iPaytotal is the #1 pharmacy merchant account provider in the country. Our account managers are the most experienced specialists in the business and offer 24-hour service and support to customers. With iPaytotal you can enjoy a variety of credit card payment processing services for your online pharmacy business and open a low-cost pharmacy merchant account with ease.