Are online pharmacies being hindered by a failure to offer on-demand specialist support and advice? A new study thinks so, but our pharmacist begs to differ.
The study, completed in Australia, suggests that the convenience of being able to go into a pharmacy with a storefront outweighs the benefits of quality and price of online pharmacies. But perhaps online pharmacies simply aren’t doing things the right way.
According to IsraelPharm pharmacist Saul Kaye, in Australia, “the national pharmacy practice is very fast and personal, so online prescription shopping is not that attractive to the Australian consumer.
“Typically, you would receive a prescription from your doctor and go to your local pharmacy (where you know your pharmacist) and receive your medications in less than 10 minutes. Australia is leading the pharmacy profession for interactions with patients and doctors, and counseling patients is a high priority on every prescription dispensed.”
In the U.S., on the other hand, the process from doctor’s prescription to medication pickup can take hours, if not days.
“There is very little interaction with the pharmacist, and seldom is there a personal connection made,” Kaye said. “In Israel, the situation is closer to the Australian model, where you know your pharmacist and get your prescriptions faster.”
At IsraelPharm, individual interactions are the crux of the business thanks to customer support services.
“We welcome questions and promptly answer them,” Kaye said, ” and all prescriptions are reviewed by a pharmacist and checked for interactions with other medications and checked against known allergies. We will counsel the patient and speak to the prescribing physician whenever necessary.”
Finding the right online pharmacy means having pharmacists who not only care about and focus on personal interactions, but also pharmacists who understand the time-sensitive nature of first-time prescriptions and antibiotics. These types of prescription medications, Kaye said, don’t fit the online model because they need to be purchased immediately.
Chronic medication, on the other hand, typically is stable and not prone to dosage adjustments, making the inexpensive option of online prescription drug purchasing a great option for Americans.
What kind of experience have you had at your local pharmacy? Is it quick and convenient? Have you built a relationship with your pharmacist?