ePharmacy is a unique online pharmacy business, designed to provide cost effective and round the clock pharmacy services to the consumer’s doorsteps. The operation of ePharmacies depends on IT infrastructure and software, and robust supply chain. IT infrastructure is the most vital component of ePharmacies that includes ePharmacy Message Store (ePMS) and other process integration systems. The system (ePMS) controls and maintains encrypted communication between doctors, pharmacy supply chain and government authorities who monitor the information gateway. The IT software includes packages that help in receiving customer information and tracking the delivery.
Accurate dispensing assessment, quick order filing, and timely delivery of quality pharmacy services are some of the prime factors that would emphasize the global demand for e-pharmacy. Additionally, increasing geriatric population, rising work pressure on pharmacy stores and advances in healthcare IT infrastructure drives the growth of ePharmacy market globally. However, high initial setup cost and errors in dispensing data would be catastrophic for the global epharmacy market. Other factor which may restrain the ePharmacy markets is rigorous regulatory requirements for epharmacy systems as different issues arise in quality assurance and assessment of competence. It is of paramount importance to have equivalence between epharmacy system and community pharmacy’s usual method of practice in order to recognize and acknowledge differences.
The global market of ePharmacy is segmented based on different services and geography. ePharmacy services are primarily categories in three domains: minor ailment service (MAS), acute medication service (AMS) and chronic medication service (CMS). Minor ailment services include dispensing of OTC and general prescription medication. AMS is the dispensing of pharmaceutical care for acute episodes of care such as acute pain management and allergic reactions. CMS is the engagement of ePharmacy in the management of individual patients with long term conditions such as diabetes and chronic kidney diseases.
Geographically, the global ePharmacy market has been segmented into six regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Rest of the World (RoW). North America forms the largest market for ePharmacy followed by Europe. North America is expected to retain its dominant position throughout the forecast period. This is attributed to high adoption of ePharmacy for minor ailment services, and growing geriatric population. The EU5 nations — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. — form the key markets in the region, accounting for a major share of the total revenue. Asia Pacific region, particularly Japan and China are the fastest growing markets owing to large geriatric population base and development in healthcare infrastructure. WHO estimates, 23 million individuals aged 80 years or over were living in China in 2013. The U.S. contributed to about 12 million individuals at or above 80 years of age, followed by India and Japan, which had 10 million and 9 million, respectively. Latin America and RoW accounted for the least share of the global ePharmacy market in terms of revenue in 2013 due to minimal market penetration in constituent regions, poor economic conditions, presence of large number of private local pharmacy stores and inadequate health care infrastructure.
The ePharmacy market is characterized by intense competition among key players owing to growing medical needs across the globe. The major participants studied in the ePharmacy market research report are drugstore.com Inc., CanDrugstore.com, Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd., Domzdrowia.pl SA, The SANICARE Group, eDrugstore.MD, CanadaDrugs.com, Walgreen Co., DocMorris, Rowlands Pharmacy, ePharmacy, CanAmerica Drugs, Inc., MediSave, CVS Caremark, and PlanetRx.com.
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