The internet has transformed the way we shop, and this has had a visible impact on traditional retailers who have retrenched from the high street.
Naturally, during the Covid-19 lockdown, the closure of almost all retail shops has meant that more buying has shifted online. In April 2020, the proportion of online sales rose further to about 30%.
Whilst the trend to shop online may be obvious for consumer goods, it may be less obvious that the digital age has also had a profound impact on pharmacies. Today, millions of people seek health advice online and routinely buy treatment and wellbeing products over the internet.
Back in 2015, as part of an efficiency drive, the Government made a pledge to assist patients to access more online pharmacy services to help the NHS save money. The initiative has been so successful that today ‘telemedicine’ or online pharmacy is a pillar of modern medicine.
The Antiquated Model
The digital revolution has shaken up the basic pharmacy model that survived for more than a century with little change.
Under the antiquated model, a patient had to travel to the GP surgery for a consultation. The GP would then then write a prescription for the treatment. If the pharmacy was not located in the surgery, patients had to travel to their nearest pharmacy store and hand the pharmacist the prescription who there-and-then supplied the treatment prescribed.
The internet has disrupted this model as online pharmacies now give consumers new choices and more control over how they manage their own health and wellbeing.
The early stimulus of online pharmacies was the establishment of the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS). This enables prescriptions to be sent electronically from the GP practice to the pharmacy which then dispenses the treatment directly to the home. Today, over 90% of treatments prescribed by a GP are distributed electronically by the pharmacy.
The Benefits of Online Pharmacies
The EPS system was just the beginning. Telemedicine has evolved further so that now there is often no need to even visit the GP. The entire journey of GP-Pharmacy-Treatment can be done online for an increasing variety of issues.
There are many reasons why telemedicine is proving to be so popular. The four main benefits that online pharmacies provide to the patient relate to time, money, anonymity and convenience.
Time: If you want to purchase prescription treatment there’s no need for a physical meeting with the GP. All that is required is the completion of an online consultation that takes about 1-2 minutes. If the GP deems you are suitable, he/she writes a prescription which is sent to the pharmacy and the treatment is then dispatched. This saves on travelling time, waiting in queues at the GP surgery and pharmacy, and all of the standstill periods and delays in between.
Money: In most cases, online pharmacies offer treatment at relatively low prices and in greater quantities than bricks-and-mortar retailers. In addition, there are no travelling costs to/from the surgery or pharmacy. There’s also a value to your time that is saved, and delivery of the treatment is often free.
Anonymity: Patients often go to the GP for sensitive issues. The hair growth treatment and the erectile dysfunction treatment offered by Man Behind The Mirror certainly fall into this category. With online pharmacies, there’s no waiting in any queues and no awkward face-to-face meetings. Patients benefit from full anonymity. At Man Behind The Mirror, even our packaging is discreet.
Convenience: Almost half of the population are on repeat prescriptions, but for the majority, the process to get their treatment is time-consuming and inconvenient. At Man Behind The Mirror, the initial consultation takes 1-2 minutes, with delivery is guaranteed within 3 days. We then offer automatic repeat prescriptions for all of the treatments on offer, delivered directly to your door.
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