Online pharmacy is a rapidly growing branch of digital healthcare. Its purpose is to provide easy and immediate access to medical aid, particularly in remote areas. Since rural areas are more prone to health problems than urban and suburban areas, online pharmacy is a highly effective way to provide healthcare to patients living far away.
Likewise, emeds Pharmacy is playing a crucial role in remote healthcare in Pakistan. It is the only retail online pharmacy with an ISO certification in the country. It provides free online consultation and has a delivery network across Pakistan.
Online pharmacies are excelling worldwide because on-time deliveries can save many lives. It proves to be even more beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic when people have to practise social distancing. The future will be more digitally advanced; virtual healthcare will soon become a staple application of cutting-edge technology with enormous benefits.
What is Online Pharmacy?
Online pharmacy is also known as internet pharmacy or mail-order pharmacy. It’s a pharmacy that works over the internet and sends deliveries to customers via post, shipping companies, or online pharmacy web portals.
How Does an Online Pharmacy Operate?
Online pharmacy seems to be an excellent alternative to overcome the severe shortage of conventional pharmacies in rural parts of Pakistan. It works in 3 simple steps:
- A customer makes an online purchase of the item(s) on a licensed online pharmacy platform.
- The prescription is assessed and verified by the pharmacist.
- The order is processed and then dispatched.
How Online Pharmacies are Improving Healthcare System in Rural Areas
Rural areas usually don’t have as many facilities as cities; particularly healthcare. The need for necessary medical care and prescription drugs is constantly rising because of the scarcity of primary care physicians in rural areas. Consequently, underserved communities struggle with many serious health problems and high mortality rate.
This is where online pharmacy comes into action. Online consultation with pharmacists provides a quick solution for patients. Pharmacists are eligible to diagnose, treat, and immunise many infectious diseases, including influenza (viral flu). They can be a massive help to the healthcare sector by providing their full extent of practice under license. Many countries worldwide are developing unique strategies to provide effective and immediate healthcare to rural and underdeveloped areas. Moreover, this initiative will significantly benefit the overwhelmed hospitals and help relieve the healthcare sector’s pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Besides giving prescription drugs and offering expertise to patients, online pharmacies coordinate with other healthcare providers to increase public health awareness. They play a crucial role in expanding and enhancing medical care in rural parts through providing knowledge, peer support, medical campaigns and camps.
In rural communities, pharmacists are often the first line of contact for patients. They give vital information on the safe use of prescription drugs to relieve symptoms until patients can schedule an appointment with the doctor.
COVID-19 pandemic has had adverse effects on healthcare worldwide. As the medical workforce is limited, different countries are searching for ways to improve their access to healthcare, especially in areas facing a shortage of primary care physicians. Online pharmacies can prove to be an effective strategy to overcome these issues by addressing chronic illnesses and help patients with managing their prescriptions.
List of Benefits of Online Pharmacy
Online pharmacies certainly provide several benefits to both the customers and the pharma industry. Virtual healthcare is already one of the top booming industries in Pakistan.
Conventional pharmacies usually have a limited supply. This is why they are not always able to fulfil customer’s requirements. However, online pharmacies can accumulate reserves and are even able to provide hard-to-find prescription drugs.
Another critical advantage of online pharmacy is its accessibility with just a click on your phone or any other similar device. Distance and physical barriers don’t count. You can order online and have your medicine delivered to your doorstep on time, even if you live hundreds of miles away.
- Minimum Contact
During the ongoing pandemic, it’s crucial to maintain social distance and avoid unnecessary contact. Online pharmacy ensures minimum contact during all the process since everything is done remotely. You receive your required purchase on time in the most hygienic way possible.
You don’t need to travel or stand in a queue and wait for your turn to purchase your medicine. You can just upload your prescription from your smartphone and get your purchase delivered to your home. It’s particularly convenient for disabled people and patients who are unable to travel due to illness.
- Awareness and Education
Online pharmacies can provide valuable information about medication to their customers through technological means. They consider severe health concerns, including drug addiction, drug abuse, and side effects of medication. They also have suggestions for cheaper alternatives to more expensive medicine.
Medical supplies at online pharmacies are certified and original because they can be traced back to the manufacturer. Customers can rest assured that their medicine is genuine. This brings trust and transparency to the system and ensures that the system’s authenticity is conserved.
- Data Protection and Data Analysis
A key advantage of online pharmacy is that every customer and their order is recorded in detail. This data helps deal with self-medication issues and drug abuse and keep track of the medication a patient with chronic illness may be taking.
On the other hand, the technology used by online pharmacies can store massive amounts of data of consumers all across the country. The government can use this data to formulate and develop public health policies.
Regulations for Online Pharmacy in Pakistan
In Pakistan, the scope of online pharmacy is expected to grow exponentially in the future because it offers reliable and authentic medical services to every individual.
In 2015, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan approved the registration of homoeopathic, allopathic, herbal, Unani, and nutraceutical products. This also means that only registered pharmacies can sell such products, including OTC and prescription medication, to the public.
Strict legislation of these rules will ensure that only licensed online pharmacies operate and maintain drug quality throughout their supply chain.
The current pandemic due to novel coronavirus has highlighted Pakistan’s fractured and strained healthcare system and brought attention to a significant shortage of pharmacies in the country. Therefore, Pakistan urgently needs to invest and thoroughly plan the online pharmacy industry.
The online pharmacy industry seems to have great potential value in Pakistan due to accessibility throughout the country. It can boost the country’s economy significantly. Online pharmacy can especially be of great importance to housebound patients, handicapped, older citizens, and quarantined individuals.
Online pharmacy is an emerging industry that has made primary healthcare accessible to remote and rural areas. It has proven to be quite efficient and cost-effective. Though, strict regulations need to be implied by the government to maintain its effectiveness and sustainability.