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Online Pharmacy UK

Could Online Pharmacies Be the Future for UK Patients?

Transformed in part by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists are more often than not, the first port of call now for patients with minor illnesses seeking help, advice and support. With online pharmacies able to dispense drugs more freely (but in a regulated manner, naturally), and GPs inundated with requests for appointments that they simply can’t cope with, it’s little surprise that this combination has become a winning one.


What impact has the digital age had on pharmacies?

But it isn’t just COVID-19 that has impacted the way we seek medical advice and treatment, the internet has transformed it, too. In much the same way as the digital age has changed the way we shop for items such as groceries and clothing, it’s had a noticeable impact on pharmacies, too. Millions of people in the UK now purchase medicines and over-the-counter remedies online, and seek guidance and support from health professionals over the internet.


The internet has disrupted the usual chain of events that would happen when a patient sought medical help in the UK: a GP consultation would take place, followed by the writing of a prescription, the handing over of the prescription to the pharmacist, and finally the supplying of the prescribed drugs to the patient. Nowadays, however, online pharmacies are giving patients more choice and control over how they manage their health and wellbeing.


How did online pharmacies become so popular?

Around for roughly 20 years, it’s only in recent years that online pharmacies have really begun to make an impact on communities, with studies having shown that as many as 25% of UK residents have used, or are likely to use, an online pharmacy. While the major high street pharmacies have strong online presences now, too, there are other, equally reputable companies that also operate only online and are extremely popular.


Due in part to an ageing population and more people living with long-term conditions, online pharmacies have experienced an upsurge in demand of late, and are even teaching the NHS a thing or two!


The NHS and online pharmacies

A trend reflected in the UK, a reported 4 out of 5 US citizens go online to check their symptoms before choosing to visit a medical practitioner, and while many doctors don’t advise symptom checking online, the NHS is actively encouraging patients to schedule online consultations or book appointments online.


Electronic prescriptions can also be sent from GP surgeries to pharmacies using the NHS Electronic Prescription Service, and is fast replacing traditional paper prescriptions. Not only does this save the NHS money, but it’s also changing the way patients think about their prescriptions.


Online pharmacies help those who are housebound to purchase over-the-counter remedies for a variety of conditions, along with helping them gain access to other products and services typically sold in a bricks and mortar pharmacy, too. But it isn’t just those who are housebound benefitting from online pharmacies, in fact, they can be used by anyone who hasn’t got the time to visit their local pharmacy in person, and with a wide range of products sold, why not get your cold treatment delivered in the same way as your clothes and groceries?

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