Online pharmacy delivery services have provided a great level of convenience to patients and healthcare providers. They offer cheaper prices in comparison to the brick and mortar stores, anonymity to customers, reduced transaction or product costs and wider access to all medicines.
The rise in chronic diseases, technological advancements in the biological market and rising demand for timely availability of drugs has led to the growth of the global online medicine delivery market. As per reports, the market is expected to generate $1,694.7 billion by 2023 in revenue. Further, the largest market share of the pharmacy delivery market is expected to be held by North America, while the Asia-pacific market is projected to grow at the largest CAGR.
If you want to start an online pharmacy delivery service to make the most out the growing market, below are the steps you should follow:
Step 1: Understanding The Legalities
The first step towards starting your online pharmacy delivery service requires you to understand the rules and regulations of your country in relation to the sale of pharmaceutical drugs. For instance, the laws require that the pharmacist should be registered and licensed, with the license being valid in the respective country or region where the online pharmacy intends to sell its products.
It is the duty of the licensed pharmacist to verify prescriptions, manage storing requirements, approve purchases and oversee operations. The online pharmacy should further but medicines and other products only from suppliers and manufacturers that are legally recognized.
Step 2: Choose the business model
There are mainly two kinds of business model for an online pharmacy delivery service. Under the first model the online pharmacy owner stocks medicines himself. The online pharmacy first confirms it the medicines ordered through a valid prescription submitted by customers are available, after which the customer is asked to make the payment. The medicines are then delivered to the customers.
The other business model doesn’t require the online pharmacy to stock medicines. They operate by partnering with local pharmacies that deliver the medicines to the customers when ordered online. The online pharmacy checks the availability of medicines at the nearest store from the customer’s location and instructs that particular pharmacy to deliver the medicine. The payments under this model are collected by the online pharmacy and shared with partners as per agreed terms and conditions.
Step 3: Acquire Licenses and Set Structure
Depending on the laws of your country, get the necessary licenses and permits to operate an online pharmacy delivery service. You also need to set a legal structure for your business which may be a sole owner, partnership, incorporated organization or an LLC.
Step 4: Select the Platform for Online Pharmacy
At this step you need to choose either an open-source or a hosted platform for your online pharmacy store. Open-source platforms are usually free of cost and flexible, however, they may not necessarily have shopping carts or customer support.
Step 5: partner with Suppliers and Manufacturers
The next step is to locate reputed suppliers and manufacturers for your stock requirements. You also need to hire delivery partners to get your products delivered to your customers. However, if you have opted for another business model, you will have to connect with local pharmacy stores that will supply the products directly to your customers.
Step 6: Pharmacy Delivery App Development
No online business would work successfully without a pharmacy delivery app. To get a mobile app developed, you need to identify and consult a medicine delivery app development company that provides end-to-end app development services.
What are the types of Online Pharmacy?
- Organized online pharmacy – This model consists of a market place model and an inventory-based model. The market place model connects licensed pharmacies within one neighborhood to the consumers. The inventory-based model is an online licensed pharmacy that delivers medicines directly to the end-user.
- Non-organized online pharmacy model – These are pharmacies that sell medicines without valid prescriptions and since there are no qualified pharmacists, the genuineness of the medicines can’t be identified. This model suffers from a lack of audit and record-keeping.
- Illegal online pharmacies – Under this model, drugs, and medicines are illegally traded across borders without prescriptions for cheaper medicines.
What are the benefits of Online Pharmacy?
Online pharmacy delivery benefits consumers at large due to the level of convenience they provide.
- Aids consumers especially aged people in buying medicines from the comfort of their homes through a few taps and clicks on smartphones or computers.
- Online pharmacy provides access to information about drugs such as usage, time to be taken at, side effects, etc.
- Medicines that are purchased by consumers can be easily tracked through an online pharmacy.
- Different pharmacists can sell medicines on one website.
- Medicines can be properly organized and transaction records can be maintained systematically through ePharmacy.
- Increased availability and accessibility to a wider variety of medicines.
You should carefully consider the above factors and steps before you begin the process to start an online pharmacy delivery service. A business in the pharmaceutical industry can be risky if country-specific laws and guidelines are not followed properly. Therefore, to leverage the market to its full potential, ensure you have taken care of all the legalities and requirements before starting your e-pharmacy delivery service.