The progressing technology has made some remarkable developments in almost all fields. Healthcare is no exception. Tele-medicine, which has set its foot in the market recently, has provided access to the finest doctors at our fingertips. Another great development in the healthcare sector is e-pharmacy.
The health space is primarily handled by intermediaries who somewhere or the other take advantage of the lack of knowledge of the consumers. Things may change once the customers have all information at their disposal.
Misconceptions regarding e-pharmacy
Commonly speaking, there are three main models of e-pharmacy- organized, non-organized, and illegal trade models. It is important for a common man to understand the difference between the three.
It links the end-user to a licensed pharmacy. Every service is monitored by a team of registered pharmacists. Orders are only dispatched if the customer has provided a valid prescription. With all the technological help, pharmacists can keep a track of every order they have dispatched.
This monitored system has helped to prevent two major issues of today’s time- self-medication and drug abuse. The organized e-pharmacy is also making people aware of the side effects of drugs and the precautions they must take.
There is no concept of medicine tracking in a non-organized e-pharmacy. The medicines can be ordered without any prescription. Also, there is no guarantee of the authenticity of the medicines since the pharmacists involved are not qualified.
Illegal international trade via e-pharmacy
This model involves illegal shipping of drugs across international borders. The drugs are shipped without any valid prescription and neither is there an approval from the concerned authorities.
Since there are no clear guidelines around e-pharmacy, it becomes difficult for a consumer to distinguish an illegal one from an organized one. To fight such pharmacy concerns, the European Union has issued a logo for all legal and authorized pharmacies.
India too needs to set some strict rules for e-pharmacies. With proper government involvement, we would be able to benefit from the organized e-pharmacy channels.
How are consumers benefiting from e-pharmacy?
There is no need to stand in a queue waiting for your turn to pick up your medicines. Order placing becomes quite convenient from a smartphone or computer. The patients who are sick and are not fit to go out to a pharmacy can also benefit from this technology.
2. Greater accessibility
The offline pharmacies keep a limited inventory. As a result, they are often not able to satisfy all the demands of a customer. Since the online pharmacies can aggregate supplies, they can even provide you with the hard to find medicines. Online pharmacies like Pharmeasy are working 24*7 even during this pandemic to fill your needs of essential medicines and ensure the rule of zero-contact is followed.
3. Getting educated
E-pharmacies have the necessary technological means by which they can provide some valuable information to their customers. They are picking up some serious concerns such as drug addiction and the side effects of medicines. Along with these, they are also providing information on cheaper substitutes of medicines.
4. Medicine authenticity
Since all medicines supplied by an organized e-pharmacy will always be tracked, the customers can rest assured that their medicines are certified and genuine. In the 21st century, any inappropriate medicine can be traced back to the channel up to its manufacturer. This brings transparency in the system and guarantees that the system’s authenticity is maintained.
5. Data records
Another benefit of the online purchase of medicines is that every person and its order quantity is properly noted. This helps to keep a check on drug abuse and self-medication issues.
6. Data Analytics
The technology used by e-pharmacies is capable of storing large amounts of data of the consumers all over the nation. This data helps in the planning and development of public health policies.
7. Transaction records
Since all transactions on the online platforms are recorded, the government can be certain that full taxes are paid on each transaction. Taking in account the size of the market, these transaction records are hugely beneficial for the State.
Online pharmacy clearly has a number of benefits both for the consumers and for the industry. The progress of e-commerce has also forced the brick and mortar retailers to join the digital platforms. Even they have understood that e-pharmacy is the only way of reaching the masses.