The drugstore industry has come a long way. Decades ago, pharmacies limit their products to medicines. Fast forward today, you can find various items from cosmetics to confectionery and even do your grocery. This led to more than $271 billion sales in 2015. In 2016, Walgreens became the top drugstore chain with $83 billion sales.
Since pharmacies continue to evolve, one of the things offered is online pharmacy where you can order medicines with just several clicks. This leads you to another question: what’s the difference between traditional and online pharmacy? More importantly, how is one more beneficial than the other?
Online pharmacy is one of the fastest-growing trends today. In fact, online prescription drug sales are expected to increase to $30 billion by 2020, which is not impossible to happen.
Before you indulge in buying prescription drugs online, here are the pros and cons of this type of service.
- Medicine prices are lower. Did you know that you could save more when you buy online? This is because of reduced overhead costs since there is no physical store and product is sold directly to consumers among other factors. Nonetheless, inquire about the price of the medicine since some drugs are sold at a higher price.
- Buying medicine is convenient. There are instances when pharmacy is miles away from where you live or your busy schedule gets in the way and prevents you from buying medicine. Ordering your prescription medicines online can be convenient because you don’t have to physically go to the store and wait for your turn. Plus, you can order at the comfort of your own home and anytime you want.
- Comparing prices is easier. Can you imagine going from one pharmacy to another just to compare the prices of specific drugs? It gives you additional savings, but this entails time as well. Buying medicines online allows you to compare prices from one online pharmacy to another without leaving the comfort of your home. You might even see coupons to save on Lyrica and other drugs, which you can use for additional savings.
- Additional fees are imposed. You may be safe against overhead costs, but buying online entails additional expenses as well. Shipping fee must be included in your computation, but there are online pharmacies who charge extra like account setup fee.
- Physical evaluation is missing. The good thing about buying in traditional pharmacies is that the pharmacist can evaluate you personally and may refuse to sell medications based on their assessment. They can also check if the prescription was issued by a licensed pharmacist. This isn’t done when you buy online.
- Your personal and financial information might not be secured. Buying medicines online means you need to provide information such as address and credit card details. This could be used without your knowledge, thereby putting your identity at risk. This is why it is imperative that the online pharmacy is a secured website to ensure private details are safe.
- Scamming is and will always be a possibility. Many people are taking advantage of the online trend. These people will pose as legitimate online pharmacies and prey on clueless people to give out credit card details. Secure the website first and make sure you buy on legitimate pharmacies with physical stores to reduce this possibility. If the online pharmacy refuses to give details like address and phone number, then move on to the next.
- You might put your health at risk. Some online pharmacies do not require prescription, which can be dangerous. Procuring medicine is easy and convenient, thereby making it easier for you to sidestep your health if precautionary measures are not taken.
Given these pros and cons, does this mean traditional pharmacies are better than online pharmacies? That depends.
Most of the disadvantages enumerated under online pharmacy reflect the benefits of going to your local drugstore because the instances mentioned can be avoided. Nonetheless, going to a traditional pharmacy to buy medicines has drawbacks as well.
First, you would be buying more expensive medicine because of overhead costs such as delivery to the pharmacy, the salary of pharmacists and other people manning the drug store, electricity, and other administrative expenses.
Then, inconvenience can be another issue. You have to make sure you get there before the closing time, deal with people and lines, and filling prescriptions among others.
Choices are limited as well since you have to deal with what a particular pharmacy offers. This means you won’t be able to compare prices easily without going from one store to another, which is time-consuming.
Which is better between the two? At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Go for whatever is more convenient for you as long as you get the medicines you need and you won’t put your health at risk.