The Rising Need For A Trusted ePharmacy
Getting medicines delivered at home has become the new norm. It is no surprise that pharmacies are transitioning to online platforms as technology evolves and provides unparalleled convenience. Read on to learn what precisely is an online pharmacy and why they are needed.
Like traditional pharmacies, online pharmacies prepare and sell both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. But unlike traditional pharmacies, online pharmacies take orders virtually and mail the prescriptions to the recipients. The sale of drugs over the internet started in the late 1990s and has since spread rapidly throughout the world.
As a result of this rapid change, the Existing Drugs and Cosmetics Act (1940) added an amendment on its official website that states the primary objective of the act is to ensure drugs and cosmetics sold online in India are safe, effective and conform to state quality standards. The current Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 will be replaced by the New Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics Bill, 2023. A provision for obtaining a licence to run an online pharmacy was included in the proposed legislation that was made available to the public in July 2022.
The advantages of online pharmacies are currently a hotly debated subject. To completely understand the topic, it is essential to look at the advantages of online pharmacies. But first, let us examine what an ePharmacy is and how it can be helpful.
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How Does An ePharmacy Work?
ePharmacy is an online medical shop that sells and distributes drugs through the internet. As an increasing number of people get access to the Internet, getting drugs has become much simpler and more comfortable. Even in rural places where delivery is not possible, a nearby pickup point allows consumers to get a choice of online pharmacies.
According to a 2022 study by the National Library of Medicine (USA), the Indian online pharmacy market was assessed to be at US$ 41 billion in 2021 and remained the third biggest market in terms of value. By 2024, it is expected to increase to US$ 65 billion as the population ages, chronic infections increase, disposable income rises, and medical awareness grows, among other factors. And if you’re wondering how online pharmacies function, here’s a rough breakup:
- As a first step, patients download mobile applications on their smartphones or tablets.
- The next step is to upload a copy of their scanned prescriptions to the system to make a request for medication.
- Each drug request placed into the system is monitored by a team of licensed pharmacists.
- Registered pharmacists transmit their patients' prescriptions to the local pharmacy warehouse, from where the drugs are picked up and delivered to the patient.
- This innovative technology is secure and easy to use, and it can be utilised on both mobile and web platforms.
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Advantages of An ePharmacy
To the user, the process of ordering from ePharmacy has become easy and convenient. Here are the advantages of ordering from an ePharmacy:
1. Convenience For Consumers
It is simple to order prescription drugs from ePharmacy. It’s a simple and accessible way to get medication, especially for people who live in remote areas, are elderly, differently abled, or regular office workers who struggle to find time. There’s no burden of travelling to the pharmacy and buying medication physically.
The main benefit of an online pharmacy is that it offers drugs at lower prices due to its low working capital, low latency, and growing profits. Purchasing medications online can save you up to a third of your cost.
3. Saves Time
One of the key benefits of ePharmacy application is the ability to save time. Ordering the medication takes a few minutes, and express delivery can have it at your doorstep in a matter of hours. . To place an order, all you need to do is enter your prescription into the mobile app or website. There is no need for you to visit the drugstore or stand in long queues at the pharmacy.
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4. Heightened Data Privacy
Data privacy is increased when consumers are purchasing from the right businesses. This method is particularly helpful for people who are uncomfortable chatting with doctors and pharmacists in person.
5. Comprehensive Catalog
Consumers gain a lot from using an online pharmacy because it offers a far wider range of selections than a conventional drugstore. Although it is impossible to find every drug in every conventional pharmacy, online pharmacies have a much wider assortment of medications.
6. Expansive Information Available
Some ePharmacies provide useful information on drugs and illnesses. It includes essential links to medical resources, universities, and government entities, and other information that the average consumer needs to know. Today's consumer has access to thousands of items and services at the press of a mouse. It has not only increased the variety and range of products available, but it has also saved users time and money.
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A few businesses, most notably startups, have begun selling medicine and other healthcare products online to provide customers with a seamless experience while taking care of their health. In a short amount of time, ePharmacy has attracted a lot of consumer and venture capital funding. To regulate the ePharmacy industry and safeguard consumer rights, the Indian government, under the act of New Drugs, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Bill (2023) has adopted rules and standards for the online purchasing and selling of medicines.
What Drives The ePharmacy Market?
1. Increasing Internet Penetration
In India, the availability of smartphones at reasonable rates and the rollout of 4G has led to a significant increase in internet penetration.
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2. Growing e-commerce industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the appeal of internet shopping. People are increasingly exploring new types of products through home delivery services, which was not previously the trend.
3. Governmental support
The Jan Aushadhi Program of the Indian Government is a crucial component of the government's effort to guarantee that the country's general populace gets access to high-quality, reasonably priced medications. This, together with the Digital India Initiative, will allow customers to visit Jan Aushadhi stores through a mobile application, which would be extremely advantageous for them.
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4. Growing awareness of counterfeit drugs
The highly sophisticated tracking mechanism and surveillance system used by ePharmacy removes middlemen and the possibility of receiving fake or poor medications.
Future of ePharmacies
1. Secured Investment Area
The internet pharmacy is a desirable area with many advantages for both buyers and suppliers. The idea of online pharmacies has seen substantial expansion over the last few years thanks to major private equity and investment. Because of the demand for chronic medications, the Covid-19 pandemic has also drawn some new customers to online pharmacies. These trends are likely to continue in the years to come.
2. Near Future Profits
The number of online pharmacies is anticipated to rise soon as a result of factors like rising per capita income, rising healthcare spending by households, expansion of the internet into new areas (especially rural ones), better supply-chain (logistics), and an increase in smartphone ownership. Similar to this, advancements in technology, such as improved internet access and infrastructure for digital payments, will accelerate the rise of online pharmacies.
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3. Stricter Data Privacy Regulations
One of the key challenges that may hinder the spread of ePharmacy is data privacy, particularly in relation to the user's personal health records and prescriptions. E-pharmacies are evolving into a market where suppliers discover fresh ways to authenticate the prescriptions and send them out swiftly.
The New Drugs, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Bill of 2023 has tightened regulations, nevertheless, as more merchants enter the online pharmacy business, to stop the spread of rogue pharmacies operating without the necessary permits and selling dangerous drugs to customers. Sellers must therefore make sure they have the necessary permits and comply with all bill standards before they can enter the ePharmacy industry. The industry also must deal with the delivery of pharmaceuticals being diverted.
4. Innovation Fuelled By Technology
Digital pharmacies and direct-to-consumer virtual care clinics are just two examples of tech-driven product and service delivery models that are displacing traditional channels and promoting the move to the house.
5. Advanced Delivery Systems
White-glove delivery and delivery management systems allow sellers to track the deliveries and create a direct line of communication with their clients. As these issues arise, the pharmaceutical sector can solve them by developing innovations that make it easier to buy prescription drugs online.
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6. Acute Reach In Remote or Rural Areas
The sellers can contact patients in remote places who might not have access to healthcare through e-pharmacies. Also, internet pharmacies can extend their reach into regions with a high demand for prescription medications once they have assessed any potential dangers. This will speed up the processing of each purchase.
Pharmaceutical producers and distributors need to start thinking about switching to digital platforms right away if they want to establish themselves as major players in B2B and B2C pharmaceutical eCommerce.
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