Since COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior, e-pharmacies are viewed as a safe and convenient option. Digital payments and last-minute deliveries may also boost more revenue for pharmaceutical businesses and encourage price competition in the pharmacy industry, thereby making medications more affordable for consumers. Thus, with the access to both online and offline offerings, pharmacies are now able to provide more options to consumers to choose based on the requirements, availability and price.
Speaking on the need for collaboration between offline and online pharmaceutical offerings, Dr B R Jagashetty, former National Advisor – Drugs Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare pointed out, “I feel that, it should work perfectly if both go hand in hand since online business is only a platform to get orders, which have to be fulfilled through licensed premises of their own or in collaboration with existing brick and mortar shops.” This is the beginning of a new pharmaceutical model post-COVID era which will be data-driven.
Retail Giants Push into Online Prescription Drugs
The US pharmacy sector is worth a whopping $312.6 billion, and every company wants its piece of the pie. Not surprisingly, the online pharmacy business is one of the main sectors that drive rapid market growth almost exclusively. Indeed, the global online pharmacy business is a mammoth of an industry, expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.26 percent to reach $107.53 billion by 2025, according to Zion Market Research.
In the past few years, the notable growth of CVS Health is a clear indicator that the US public has an insatiable demand for online pharmacy services. Considering all of the above and new opportunities arise within the online pharmaceutical sector, it’s not difficult to understand why the largest retailers, like Amazon, want to dig into the pharmacy industry.
Amazon Could Shake Up the Pharmacy Industry
From books to fresh food and even streaming content, Amazon is entering the pharmacy business with a new offering called Amazon Pharmacy, allowing shoppers to order prescription medications — insulin, inhalers and other prescription drugs — all with two-day delivery for members of the Amazon Prime shopping club. The move boosts new opportunities for Amazon and could shake up the pharmacy industry.
The e-commerce giant said this Tuesday it has opened an online pharmacy, giving the chance to all customers in the United States to order medication on their phones and computers. Shoppers have to set up a profile on Amazon’s website and have their doctors send prescriptions there. Those members who don’t have insurance can also buy generic or brand name drugs from Amazon for a discount.
Two years ago, Amazon bought online pharmacy PillPack for $750 million. PillPack organizes medication in packets by what time and day they need to be taken. Amazon said that PillPack will continue, focusing on shipping medication to people with chronic conditions. In this respect, PillPack is, in essence, being transformed into an Amazon Pharmacy brand, thus effectively becoming able to take on market leaders like CVS Health, Walmart, and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WGA), amongst others.