With each passing year, more services are moving to provide an online component of their business. This has created a new, competitive market for consumers to price shop, experience new convenience, and access products that were once out of reach.
Healthcare and medical services have experienced a tremendous shift to an online environment, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors are offering telemedicine, therapists are holding virtual sessions, and pharmacies are distributing medicine via the internet.
There are several pros and cons to purchasing medicine online. Here are some key considerations to help you determine whether this option is right for you.
Pro: Cost Savings
The primary benefit of using an online pharmacy is the potential for cost savings. As prescription medication can be quite costly, finding ways to save is important. By shopping online, consumers can save up to 80% on their prescriptions through lower prices and rebate options (source: https://www.canadapharmacy.com/). Many online pharmacies offer both human and pet medications at discounted rates, which is ideal for pet owners and families alike.
Consider the fact that a traditional, brick-and-mortar pharmacy has tremendous overhead costs. They often own or rent retail space, pay salaries to employees, and deal with the nuances of running a customer-facing business. Online pharmacies have fewer overhead and staffing costs, which results in the ability to charge more affordable prices to end-users.
One of the overarching cons of purchasing medicine online is the lack of regulation. Yes, there are regulations in place that apply to online pharmacies. However, it’s so easy to set up an online store that wrong-doers can quickly shut their virtual doors and start over elsewhere if they aren’t in compliance.
The anonymity of online shopping means that some pharmacies are foregoing regulatory processes and not doing their due diligence regarding prescriptions. Some aren’t checking to confirm that prescriptions have come from a medical professional, while others don’t require prescriptions at all.
If you’re looking for an online pharmacy, look for an accredited service provider with a licensed physician who reviews prescriptions.
Another significant benefit of using an online pharmacy is convenience. When you order your medication online, it will be delivered to your door. As such, you can stay safe at home rather than venturing out to the pharmacy. This situation is ideal for those with limited mobility or in a COVID-19 hot spot.
When you order online, you aren’t subject to the hours of your local pharmacy. If your schedule is different with your pharmacy’s hours, this can be a real issue. Additionally, if you remember at 9:00 p.m. on Christmas Day that you’re low on your medication, you can place an order immediately.
Some online pharmacies sell illegal products, such as expired or counterfeit medication. These products can cause a plethora of health and safety issues, such as leaving ailments untreated or creating dangerous drug interactions.
When looking for an online pharmacy, read online reviews and check their accreditations and licensing. If you notice anything that seems too good to be true or irresponsible, don’t buy from that provider.
Pro: Customer Service
Finally, online pharmacies tend to have better customer service than in-person pharmacies. Many brick-and-mortar pharmacies also double as retailers and convenience stores for other products. This product diversity is meant to help offset the overhead costs. Unfortunately, this also means offering service to a variety of consumers rather than focusing on pharmaceutical needs.
With an online pharmacy, the entire focus is on helping people fill their prescriptions. Customer care and knowledge are of the utmost importance.
Using an online pharmacy isn’t for everyone. However, if you have recurring prescriptions, it’s worth finding a reputable online provider to help you save money and stay safe at the same time.