Established online pharmacies suddenly faced a much more competitive environment when Amazon launched its own pharmaceutical service in November 2020. Meanwhile, the world’s biggest retailer is talking about expanding to Western Europe. Should they do so, they could facilitate a boom for Europe’s online pharmacies.
All over the world, there appears to be pent-up demand for online pharmaceuticals. Add to this a coronavirus pandemic that has generated increased interest in medical science among consumers. It all adds up to what could be a very bright future for online pharmacy concerns.
Here are three signs pointing to a boom in online pharmaceuticals over the next 12 to 18 months:
1. Buyers Are More Receptive
Online sales of nearly every product have steadily increased over the last 20 years. Indeed, the public’s willingness to buy online is directly responsible for Amazon’s meteoric rise from mere bookseller to the world’s largest online retailer. Simply put, buyers are more receptive than ever to shopping online.
That receptiveness translates easily to pharmaceuticals. Consumers already willing to shop online for better prices are not likely to stop when it comes to their prescription medications. Those companies offering the best prices will pick up the most business.
We know this to be true thanks to the success of Canadian pharmacies selling to U.S. customers. Canada Drugs Direct is but one example. They have thrived because they can beat U.S. prices on so many pharmaceutical products.
2. Continued Growth in Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceuticals represent a rare group of products for which demand never seems to diminish. As time goes by, more and more drugs are developed to fight diseases of all kinds. And as new diseases are discovered, new drugs are developed to treat them. It is an ongoing cycle that feeds an organically growing industry.
Pharmaceuticals are worth tens of billions of dollars annually. Most of the demand is fueled by prescription medications. So until doctors stop writing prescriptions, there is no reason to suspect the market will stop growing. A growing market is an open door to more online competition.
3. The Development of Electronic Prescriptions
Here in the U.S., the push toward electronic health records more than a decade ago has reaped serious rewards. One such reward is the concurrent development of electronic prescriptions. Doctors no longer have to write prescriptions on notepads. Patients don’t have to take written prescriptions to their pharmacies for filling. Everything is now being done electronically.
This is a game-changer where online pharmacies are concerned. We aren’t quite there yet, but we are rapidly approaching the day when doctors start sending electronic prescriptions to online pharmacies rather than insisting on a local brick-and-mortar pharmacy.
Coronavirus may be the impetus for that shift. Online pharmacies allow for the writing and dispensing of prescriptions without ever having to come into contact with other people. Doctors can send prescriptions directly to pharmacies while patients wait at home for delivery. It is fast; it is convenient; it is contactless.
Only a Matter of Time
Online pharmacies were the stuff of vivid imaginations just 30 and 40 years ago. They are reality today. Not only that, but online pharmacies are also enjoying a very robust business that only stands to get better in the coming years. It’s only a matter of time before ordering prescription medications online is the norm.
Amazon knows the deal. If they didn’t believe online pharmaceuticals are looking at a lucrative future, they wouldn’t have bothered getting involved. The fact that they are now looking at distribution throughout Europe and North America clearly shows that a bright future lies ahead for the industry.