The days of walking into a pharmacy to pick up highly discreet items have been numbered. With the global e-pharmacy market projected to exceed $107Billion by 2026, people often wonder, what is the significance of online pharmacies and why is consumer behavior changing?
There are largely three reasons why online pharmacies are on the rise:
Firstly, the issue of privacy: People do not want others in their village to know what they are buying. Imagine having a problematic skin rash, requiring STD medicine or anything else that you’d rather keep private: even things such as anti-depressants. It is a known fact that online pharmacies provide better privacy and that serves as a cornerstone to it’s rising popularity.
Secondly, we can consider global distribution chains and free trade: As goods reach people quicker and free trade reduces barriers, anything bought via online pharmacies are now delivered quicker than in the early days of e-commerce. Adding to this, is the fact that there is now more trust than ever before in online transactions, with new markets such as India, Africa and Brazil – where consumers are switching from cash to card and e-wallets in droves.
Thirdly, whether this is a good thing or not, is that the public often seeks to self-medicate and bypass prescriptions. Indeed this can be dangerous as the UK’s NHS points out. But there are cases where people may know what they need and again, for privacy reasons, they head online to buy without a prescription. Countries like Brazil, Greece, Mexico and India – for example, have no quibble selling prescription medicine without a valid Doctors’ prescription, which is highly convenient to some people.
There are off course numerous other reasons too – and as we can see from the booming alternative health market: the participation of Amazon retail in health products, multi-vitamins and so forth, is helping to change consumer sentiment forever. With incentives to buy more for less, people are often tempted into buying 4 months’ worth of supplies on critical items, in order to incur savings.
What is changing with pharmacies and consumer behaviour?
Even in remote parts of the world, research shows that consumers are turning to the internet to buy medicine. The trend is that more and more people will buy medicine online in the near future. Naturally the risk of illegal or unregulated sites is a challenge in an era of globalization. Therefore, new regulatory frameworks that can help people distinguish between different supplier types, is called for. How else will the public know the difference between a good, or best online pharmacy, and something that is a bit shady?
However many of the products that are rather private – also requires a prescription. In some countries they are more strict than others. This brings us onto an interesting discussion:
Do online pharmacies accept foreign prescriptions?
In many cases, pharmacies will prefer a prescription from the country where they are physically located. Most online outfits do have a physical presence too: at times this is required for regulatory purposes. Some UK pharmacies will arrange a skype consultation with a local GP in order to clear red tape, whereas some pharmacies in India recognize the legitimacy of foreign prescriptions. The answer is therefore to evaluate this on a case-by-case basis when finding an online pharmacy in India.
It is therefore normal that the location of an online pharmacy may depend on various factors, such as your own location in relation to theirs – and their policies on prescription drugs.
Many players exist on the market, for example MedPlusMart, NetMeds.com, Practo.com, PharmEasy, Faastpharmacy and FrankRoss Pharmacy.
Case example: Pharmeasy
One example is Pharmeasy, Today, they deliver medicines in 1000+ cities in India, covering 22000+ pin codes. It aims to make healthcare accessible and affordable to all. They have a growing number of supporters: evident of the current trend in the market and off course of their constantly improving reputation. (To visit their site: – see Pharmeasy online pharmacy in India)
Interesting aspects about Pharmeasy is that they are revolutionising the industry to become data driven for both doctors and patients. This system enables a feedback loop for pharma companies, enabling them to produce better drugs. The company also strives to eradicate fake medicines and reducing drug dependency and abuse.
As consumer trust increases, we will see that physical pharmacies will always have special place, in cases of emergencies. But we will also see that larger outfits take a hit at a time when consumers actually move a lot of purchases to the online domain. Regardless of whether people need treatment for impotence, depression, blood pressure or fitness supplements, matters are best kept private. Remember that self-medicating can be dangerous in some cases, so an informed professional opinion from a Doctor is always best to consider.