If you are old enough to remember the days when the only way for you to buy your medicine was to walk down to your local chemist and hand over your prescription, then you are probably slightly in awe of the way that we are no able to do exactly the same thing without even leaving your home. Thanks to the way that technology and regulations have changed over the last 10 years, medical online stores are now all the rage. The great thing about this relatively new industry sector is that there are just so many advantages of using this method when compared to the traditional way. This article takes a look at how medical online stores came to be and we’ll also look at the most notable advantages of shopping in this way. So, if you are currently sitting on the fence as far as buying your medicine online, we do hope that this article helps you to understand the whole process a lot better than before.
How it started
Whilst it is almost impossible to pinpoint the date when medical online stores actually began to ply their trade, we can go back at least 18 years to the UK when what was known as ‘Pharmacy2U’ first appeared. Ever since then, the UK has been regarded as a market leader in all things medical online shopping. Since then, thousands of medical online stores have sprung up all over the place with differing levels of authenticity. As with any type of online shopping, you will need to do your homework before handing over your hard-earned money. As a rule of thumb, it is always a good idea to avoid the medical online stores that do not require a prescription form. You can also ask your doctor if they can recommend one for you to order your medicine from. Customer reviews are quite useful but ensure that they are not connected with the store that you intend to buy your medicine from. It’s also an idea to do a little shopping around once you have narrowed down your search to a few recognized and trustworthy medical online stores. Essentially these are pharmacists that are all vying for your business. Some will offer better deals than others but always do your best to read whatever small print appears on the website. You should also feel comfortable either emailing or calling them for an informal and friendly chat. If they are happy to answer whatever questions that you may have, then you should be comfortable taking the next step and actually ordering your medicine.
For the purpose of this article, we have concentrated on the most obvious advantages of shopping for your medicine online. Each of these suggests that online medicine shopping has definitely revolutionized the way that we buy our medicine here in 2017. This isn’t to say that going down the traditional route is now second best, that is not the purpose of this article. Essentially, there will be those who sit in both camps but there is no reason why the typical customer or patient shouldn’t be able to shop for their medicine in both arenas depending on what is the most suitable at that time. So, we have already talked a little about the idea behind buying your medicine online, let’s drill down a little deeper and see what, in particular, has revolutionized the way that we purchase our medicine online:
Advantage 1 – Convenience
Okay, let’s start off with what is probably the most important and also the most obvious advantage of buying your medicine online – convenience. No matter what you may be doing, what time of day it might be, so long as you have a device and a connection to the internet, buying your medicine online is possible. You can even do it whilst on the move, providing that you have a smartphone and the correct app. Nowadays most of the leading online pharmacies will have their own app for you to download. This works in 2 ways:
- It is far easier for the customer to get connected and typically the ordering process is far more streamlined than simply going through the website.
- The online pharmacy has a far better chance of their potential customers staying loyal to them instead of simply picking a random competitor.
For those who are perhaps elderly or have mobility issues for medical reasons, being able to re-order their medicine online is incredibly useful. The same applies to individuals and families that live in rural areas. You may even live in the city center where there are plenty of pharmacies but what happens if you are simply too busy to visit one during opening times? So many of us have had to put our lives on hold for a few hours just to queue up in the local pharmacy to get our prescription. Most other types of shopping have made the switch to the cyber world so why not medicine?
Advantage 2 – Savings
With traditional shopping, we are often faced with a limited choice as far as our local retail outlets are concerned. Once we are inside, the eager shop assistant will pounce and we are somewhat at their mercy. Of course, this is a little over dramatized and we have the freedom of choice wherever we decided to spend our money. However, it is just so easy and convenient to compare prices when shopping online. Simply type in the medicine of your choice into the search engine bar and you will almost instantly be faced with pages of choices. It’s then easy enough to sort them into price order and this is usually how we decide to make the next step. Over a number of prescription months, it is possible to save a considerable amount of money. Could you imagine having either the time or inclination to visit a dozen traditional pharmacies comparing prices? It would take so long and by the end of the day, you would probably be put off shopping for life. So, worry no more because purchasing your medicine online is here and it is here to stay.
Advantage 3 – Discretion
Have you ever really wanted the pharmacy to be totally empty when you’ve been required to pass over that prescription for some rather embarrassing medicine? It happens to the best of us and whether it is for something as common as a cream for your hemorrhoids or something a little more personal such as erectile dysfunction medicine. The whole stigma of this type of purchase is totally removed from the process when you purchase your medicine online. You can even do this in the company of others, so long as they aren’t actually checking out your laptop or device screen whilst you are buying the medicine.
Advantage 4 – Freedom of choice
The fourth advantage of buying your medicine online that has probably revolutionized the whole process is the fact that we have so much freedom now. Looking back at the first two advantages and combining them somewhat, it brings all of the power back to you – the customer. So long as you remember that you will need to buy the prescription in a timely fashion, you are free to choose the time and place of the purchase. You can also shop at a different online pharmacy each and every time. Although you may at some point find one that is to your liking, there is nothing to say that you have to stay loyal to them. Online pharmacies will vie for your custom and they will be constantly marking down their medicine in order to attract your attention. Although this may seem like the only reason to use them, remember that after sales service is also very useful. The better online pharmacies will also be able to give you advice in a similar fashion to their traditional counterparts.
One good tip is to never bother with the companies who send a myriad of spam email into your inbox. Suffice it to say that the recommended online pharmacies would never stoop to such low levels and the type of establishment that follows this type of crass marketing route would probably have other less than savory qualities waiting in store for the unsuspecting customer to fall over at a later time. Common sense should prevail as far as this type of imposter is concerned. You might even decide to try a new alternative just for the sake of it and then return to your regular supplier. Other potential pitfalls include:
- Fake medicine
- Out of date medicine
- Unqualified staff
- Paying your money and having nothing turn up
- The online ‘pharmacy’ actually selling your details to a third party
As we have touched on earlier, online pharmacies are not here to wipe out the traditional version, anything but. If we start thinking of them as an alternative but not a replacement, it would be a better view. Nobody likes to think of hundreds or thousands of pharmacy professionals losing their livelihood, why should they be sacrificed? By offering a better choice and at better prices, surely the real winners here are the general public. Perhaps the traditional pharmacies will need to start upping their game in order to offer a real alternative? One of the biggest disappointments when shopping at your local pharmacy is when they tell you that your prescription can’t be fulfilled because they have run out of supplies. This would never happen when shopping online so maybe it will offer them a much-needed incentive to ensure that this does not happen again. After all, if this happened to you a couple of times, what is to stop you from switching to online medicine shopping for good?
Healthy competition can sometimes be a very good thing and hopefully, this is how the two types of pharmacies will see their respective futures. One thing is for sure though, for those who are either short of time, living remotely, invalided or simply unable to make that trek into the nearest town, online medicine shopping is an incredible way to keep them and their families healthy as possible in 2017 and beyond.