Time passes, everything changes… And even such a conservative segment as the pharmacy business is not able to resist the prospects offered by new technologies.
The term online pharmacy has not yet become common to some consumers. But it’s definitely worth getting to know it because it’s convenient to buy drugs online with home delivery or get pharmacist advice by phone.
A bit of history
The first mention of the word pharmacy (“apotheca”) is found in the records of Hippocrates as far back as the 4th century BC. This way he called the place where medicines were prepared and stored. But before the start of the official history of pharmacies, 14 centuries had to pass. This story began in 754 AD when the first pharmacy was opened in Baghdad.
In the XVII century, specialized pharmacy warehouses appeared since the sale of medicines had already acquired quite a large scale. In the XVIII century, the trade and distribution of medicinal drugs were placed under the strictest control of the state. The first pharmacies were small premises with a quite limited range of drugs. Modern drugstores offer a variety of options and services that pharmacies of the past did not.
Despite the enormous changes that have taken place over the centuries in the pharmaceutical business, pharmacy remains a special industry. But today it solves the issue of timely and high-quality service using computer technology. We are speaking about online pharmacies.
New trend: distance sales of drugs
Today, a huge number of drugs can be freely purchased on the Internet. Any user easily accesses the Internet site from a home computer and finds the necessary medicine. The order is completed within one minute, money is transferred to the pharmacy from the buyer’s credit card, and the medicine is delivered to the customer’s house.
The system is quite convenient since the delivery is speedy and there is no need to leave the house. And the most important thing is that the prices in such pharmacies are much lower due to the fact that such enterprises do not pay large taxes, and, in addition, they save a lot of money on renting premises, delivering goods and maintaining staff.
This type of pharmacies is very convenient for people with limited time and people who find it difficult to leave their own homes.
The use of online services for the purchase of medicines is widespread in many countries. The main arguments used by supporters of this type of service are the opportunity to save time and money.
Benefits and risks
As we have already mentioned above, one of the advantages of the distant sale of drugs is the lower price compared to products sold by local pharmacies. Besides, using some online resources, you can quickly and easily compare the cost of drugs with the same active ingredient (analogs).
Another important advantage of online drugstores is the ability to maintain privacy. The buyer feels more comfortable when purchasing drugs for some delicate problems.
In addition, the use of such services is very convenient for people with disabilities or those who live away from pharmacies or have a busy work schedule. Many online stores also offer their customers a Refill Rx service, which will be surely appreciated by those who have to buy some medications on a regular basis.
Despite all the benefits, online pharmacies carry some risks to their customers, both obvious and hidden. So, there is an opportunity to purchase a medicine in an online pharmacy that does not have an appropriate license to carry out activities. Such online pharmacies obviously distribute counterfeit or substandard drugs. In addition, some Internet stores do not adequately protect the personal and financial information of users. This can lead to fraud by third parties who may withdraw funds from the electronic accounts of users of such Internet resources. Some online pharmacies do not provide information about their address or phone number, which complicates the process of resolving disputes, problems or filing complaints.
According to various estimates, there are about 300-400 legal online pharmacies in the USA, Canada and other countries. These companies have licenses for relevant activities and use appropriate measures to keep the user’s data safe. The examples include CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Trusted Tablets, Rite Aid, etc.
Not all online drugstores in the United States provide a remote pharmacist consultation service but some pharmacies provide the opportunity to get advice from a medical specialist.
Internet stores can attract customers not only with information and quick service but also with constant discounts and bonuses. This makes online companies attractive for people who need medicine and those who think about their health and try to lead a healthy lifestyle.