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6 Reasons Why Consumers Buy Medicines From Online Pharmacies
Online Pharmacies – a historical perspective
Online Pharmacies have been in business since the start of Internet economy in different shapes and forms. Mostly, in its initial phase, they were fronts for lot of scrupulous operators who were trying to make money using unfair trade practices the world over. With the maturity of the Internet economy and the vigilance of regulators, these operators have been forced to shut down or curtail operations. At the same time, there are genuine online pharmacies, which have opened up in accordance with the law of the land across the world. The trend started in USA and very rapidly moved across geographies. India is a recent addition in that list with a host of genuine internet pharmacies opening up to exploit the rapidly growing internet penetration in the country.
The consumer is however concerned about different stories that go around the World Wide Web and is hence Is skeptical about the shift in his buying behavior. Early adopters are here showing the way and are citing different reasons for making this shift from an offline store to the online pharmacy. Here are the top 6 reasons cited by them –
1. Cutting Down On Healthcare Costs
Almost 60 percent of those surveyed last June by the Consumer Reports National Research Center said they’re buying medicines from online pharmacies. Many of them said they get bargains on medications, for example, by buying them from online pharmacies outside the U.S. In fact, based on the survey, the center estimates that 1.9 million Americans buy medications that way. That is a huge number. Similarly, in India more and more people have started buying medicines from online pharmacies helping them save on medicine costs. A case in point is a common diabetes medicine Janumet. It is available at INR 750 for a strip of 10 tablets. But an online pharmacy would not only offer significant discount on that price but also list down possible substitutes that could possible bring down the cost by more than 70% in some cases. An informed consumer can ask the doctor to write a cheaper substitute thus benefitting enormously from this service.
2. Convenience Of Buying At The Time & Place Of Your Choice
With the increasingly hectic lives in the cities, people are finding lesser times to visit markets and buy stuff for themselves. More often than not, late working hours are forcing them to postpone their buying trips and in essential items like medicines, it is causing unintentional “misses” in regular dosage. All this can be avoided by ordering medicines online and is one of the strong reasons why consumers are shifting their behavior and buying medicines online now. Needless to say that these medicines are then home delivered to the customers ordering them on these online pharmacies.
3. Expert Advisory Services Through Registered Pharmacists
Over the years, in countries like India, most neighborhood chemists are manned by unqualified staff / under qualified staff who are ill equipped to provide expert advise to their customers. Genuine Online pharmacies on the other hand employ well-qualified pharmacists at their backend to help answer customer queries. This alone can make a lot of difference to a customer’s choice as now he can rely on an expert to get an advice from, if required.
4. Record Keeping At One Place – EHR Services
Most customers when asked for their older records would show inability to furnish them to the doctors concerned because in India paper based medical record system is still in prevalence and more often than not, the customers lose these medical record papers. Online pharmacies by the very nature of their business bring in digitization to these medical prescriptions, which can be accessed anytime from any place for a doctor’s consumption. In a way, these are EHR services offered free of cost to their customers.
5. Availability Of Medicines To Smaller Town Customers
It is a well-known fact that in India, physical distribution network of most pharmaceutical companies are skewed towards metro and large towns and cities. Smaller town customers have to travel great distances if they need special medicines or medicines not in great demand in their areas. Online pharmacies come to their rescue as most of them would have established logistic partners and would cater to those far flung areas.
6. Reminder Services For Chronic Patients
A lot of online pharmacies have added a great service for chronic patients – refill reminders. With this single service, online pharmacies can reduce the incidents of missing out on dosages by half.