In today’s technology-driven world, telemedicine is considered to be one of the most progressive technology models that have made it possible for mankind to get access to the finest doctors just at the tap of a button. However, the space of healthcare is experiencing a recent innovation called e-pharmacy. It simply refers to internet-based vendors that sell medicines. Fortune Business Insights™ states in a report that the e-pharmacy market is expected to reach USD 177,794.9 million by 2026. Such platforms are gaining more popularity on account of the increasing geriatric population worldwide. Besides, the rising adoption of the internet and smartphones in developed and developing nations would also bolster their demand.
How is E-pharmacy Proving Beneficial for Consumers?
- Data Recordings: Each and every medicine purchased can be tracked, thereby reducing the issues of self-medication and drug abuse.
- Convenience: You can easily order the required medicines right from your computer or mobile phone. This will prevent patients from visiting a pharmacy.
- Authenticity: Counterfeit medicines can be traced back to their suppliers, manufacturers, or channels with full tracking systems. It will enable the platforms to become more transparent.
- Education: E-pharmacies possess an innovative technology infrastructure for providing crucial information to consumers, such as cheaper substitutes, medicine reminders, side effects, and drug interactions. This will surge awareness amongst patients about certain medicines.
- Accessibility: Many times, you may not find the medicine that you’re looking for at local pharmacies as they only keep limited inventories. This would further make you visit a few more stores until you find that particular medicine. But, e-pharmacy platforms can aggregate supply. Hence, you can purchase otherwise hard-to-find medicines easily.
- Sustainability: This model would help the existing pharmacies to commence online operations and provide better service to consumers. At the same time, it would increase margins, eliminate wastage from the system, and lower working capital requirements.
COVID-19 Pandemic: Indian E-pharmacy Platforms Exhibit Surging Sales
Several e-pharmacy stores based in India, namely, PharmEasy, 1mg, and Netmeds which have been facing numerous regulatory issues for the past three years, are presently showcasing an astonishing surge in sales because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the government implemented lockdown measures across the country, many consumers are rapidly inclining toward these e-pharmacy platforms owing to the fear of getting infected by a coronavirus. However, multiple brick-and-mortar pharmacies are continuing to operate across India.
The founder of PharmEasy, Dharmil Sheth mentioned that the demand for the medicines category has currently gone up to almost 100%. Pradeep Dadha, the founder of Netmeds declared that the company worked closely with its suppliers for stocks right after realizing the severity of COVID-19. It started utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to prevent hoarding by customers. All its delivery centers are following strict sanitization and cleaning measures to ensure safety.
True pill Raises $25 Million to Broaden its Pharmacy Distribution Centers
In July 2020, Truepill, an online pharmacy based in California, announced that it raised approximately USD 25 million from Sound Ventures, Initialized Capital, Optum Ventures, and TI Platform Fund. The company will use this new fund to develop its existing infrastructure. At present, it possesses 6 pharmacy distribution centers that have a capacity of around 100,000 prescriptions per day. It would soon be able to add a fully automated, larger distribution center, probably in Arizona or the Midwest. The company’s president, Sid Viswanathan indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly spiked the demand for medicines. Hence, patients are no longer visiting brick-and-mortar pharmacies. With this new development, the company’s total funding stands at USD 39 million.
CVS Pharmacy Launches Spoken Rx Prescription App for Visually Impaired
In July 2020, CVS Pharmacy, an American retail corporation headquartered in the U.S., announced the launch of its new app, Spoken Rx. It will be able to read medicine labels for people who cannot read typical print labels or those who have visual impairments. This new feature will provide patients the prescription information whenever and wherever they need it. By the end of 2020, the company will put up radio frequency identification (RFID) labels on every prescription bottle at almost 1,500 locations.
E-pharmacy of the Future
E-pharmacy platforms must explore other hidden requirements rather than just offering price discounts. The need may be to ensure the patients are never out of dose for their daily medication or to purchase medicines for loved ones from distant areas. Besides, they can provide other value-added services, such as counseling and personalized diagnostics. E-pharmacy is here to stay side-by-side with retail chemists.