The studied market is expected to witness a drastic growth over the COVID-19 pandemic. Owing to the lockdown and travel restrictions, along with the fear of getting infected with the SARS-CoV2 virus has led to an increased dependence on online pharmacies for the purchase of both Over-the-Counter and prescription drugs. Also, in-person doctor visits in being replaced by virtual-based teleconsultations, which results in the generation of digital prescriptions. Similarly, key players are coming up with various strategies to combat the present pandemic. For instance, in March 2020, CVS Health began to implement new measures to balance the demand for the off-label use of drugs that are used in the treatment of both COVID-19 and other chronic diseases. Additionally, as the trend of non-contact delivery has been in progress given the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for E-pharmacy has increased over the current crisis.
The growth of the e-pharmacy market is attributed to a rise in the number of internet consumers, increased access to web-based and online services, and the rising implementation of e-prescriptions in hospitals and other healthcare services.
E-prescription is the electronic prescribing technology that allows healthcare professionals to go paperless, by sending prescriptions in the digital format, instead of handwritten prescriptions. Doctors are now preferring e-prescriptions, to allow patients to get easy access to medicine with the help of e-prescriptions. Countries, like the United Kingdom, are putting more effort into the implementation of e-prescription. The NHS hospitals in England are planning to go paperless by the year 2020. This may increase the demand for e-prescription technology, rapidly, in the future. The major advantage of e-prescription is that one can easily upload their e-prescription on the ePharmacy website and order medicine online, without any hurdle. Therefore, due to the increasing implementation of e-prescriptions, uploading the prescription online has become easy and less time-consuming. Thus, all the aforementioned factors are augmenting the growth of the market.
Key Market Trends
The Over-the-Counter Drugs Segment, under Drug Type, is Expected to Grow at the Fastest Rate, during the Forecast Period
The Over-the-Counter Drug segment is poised to witness lucrative growth over the forecast timeframe. Major industry trends such as Rx to OTC switch by pharmaceutical manufacturers, a growing tendency of people towards self-medication in developing regions, and cost-saving advantage to the customers are strongly driving the segmental growth.
The increasing patent expiration rates are resulting in switching from Rx to OTC by the companies as a counter-strategy. In Feb 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration converted three prescription drugs to Over-the-Counter drugs, which include GlaxoSmithKline’s Voltaren Arthritis Pain, Alcon’s Pataday Twice Daily Relief, and Once Daily Relief (olopatadine HCl ophthalmic solution/drops, 0.2%). This resulted in easy access to the mentioned drugs to the customers. Also, in the current COVID-19 pandemic, the e-pharmacy market, in particular for the OTC drugs has witnessed significant growth, as consumers are reluctant to visit clinics for minor ailments in fear of being infected by COVID-19.
Additionally, the economic benefits received from OTC drug usage is attributable to savings on drug cost and cost incurred on a clinical visit; as healthcare provider visits are required to obtain a prescription for Rx treatments. This factor significantly attributes verticle growth in emerging economies.
North America Holds the Largest Market Share of the E-pharmacy Market, and is Expected to Witness the Same Trend over the Forecast Period
North America accounts for the largest share of the studied market. This can be primarily attributed to more number of internet users and higher adoption of online services, which are expected to augment the growth of the market over the forecast period. Furthermore, USFDA is spreading awareness among people, about purchasing prescription medicine from online pharmacies, to avoid the circumstances of people falling prey to unbranded and harmful drugs. According to the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists (AAHP), in 2020, Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (HR 748) have been incorporated in the United States, wherein the legislation encourages the consumer to adopt OTC products for self-treatable symptoms, as it reduces the spread to coronavirus.
Additionally, the growing prevalence of minor illnesses such as flu, fever, backache, cough, and cold surges the demand for OTC medications, and thus the dependence on online pharmacies increases to obtain these drugs. Additionally, the ease of obtaining the medicines from the comfort of home is expected to drive the E-pharmacy market in North America, especially the United States. Also, the high concentration of market players and the incorporation of advanced technologies by key players to improvise the experience of online medicine purchase by customers is expected to drive the growth of the studied market in North America. For instance, in Nov 2020, Amazon launched an online pharmacy service in the United States for both generic and Prescription Medications.
The e-pharmacy market is moderately competitive with few players currently dominating the market. The key market players of the studied market comprise CVS Health Corporation, Albertsons Companies, Inc., ALTO, Axelia Solutions (Pharmeasy), among others. These players are adopting various marketing strategies to gain a higher share in the e-Pharmacy market and focusing on expanding their geographic presence, especially in developing regions that offer lucrative opportunities. For instance, in Dec 2020, Express Scripts Holdings introduced “Express Scripts Parachute Rx’’ that offers extensive discounts on prescription medicines, with an aim to offer medications at an affordable price during the COVID-19 situation.
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1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition
1.2 Scope of the Study
2 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
4 MARKET DYNAMICS
4.1 Market Overview
4.2 Market Drivers
4.2.1 Increased Access to Web-based and Online Services
4.2.2 Rising Implementation of E-prescriptions in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Services
4.3 Market Restraints
4.3.1 Increasing Number of Illegal Online Pharmacies
4.3.2 Low Penetration in Rural Areas in Developing Countries
4.4 Porter's Five Force Analysis
4.4.1 Threat of New Entrants
4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers
4.4.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products
4.4.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
5 MARKET SEGMENTATION
5.1 By Drug Type
5.1.1 Prescription Drugs
5.1.2 Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs
5.2 By Product Type
5.2.1 Skin Care
5.2.3 Cold and Flu
5.2.5 Weight Loss
5.2.6 Other Product Types
5.3.1 North America
188.8.131.52 United States (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
184.108.40.206 Canada (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
220.127.116.11 Mexico (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
18.104.22.168 Germany (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
22.214.171.124 United Kingdom (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
126.96.36.199 France (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
188.8.131.52 Italy (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
184.108.40.206 Spain (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
220.127.116.11 Rest of Europe (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
18.104.22.168 China (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
22.214.171.124 Japan (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
126.96.36.199 India (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
188.8.131.52 Australia (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
184.108.40.206 South Korea (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
220.127.116.11 Rest of Asia-Pacific (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
5.3.4 Middle East and Africa
18.104.22.168 GCC (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
22.214.171.124 South Africa (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
126.96.36.199 Rest of Middle East and Africa (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
5.3.5 South America
188.8.131.52 Brazil (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
184.108.40.206 Argentina (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
220.127.116.11 Rest of South America (By Drug Type, and By Product Type)
6 COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE
6.1 Company Profiles
6.1.1 CVS Health Corporation
6.1.2 Cigna Corporation (Express Scripts Holdings)
6.1.3 Giant Eagle Inc.
6.1.4 Optum Rx Inc.
6.1.5 Rowlands Pharmacy
6.1.6 The Kroger Co.
6.1.7 Walgreen Boots Alliance (Walgreen Co.)
6.1.8 Amazon.com Inc.
6.1.9 Albertsons Companies Inc.
6.1.11 Axelia Solutions (Pharmeasy)
7 MARKET OPPORTUNITIES AND FUTURE TRENDS
Secondary Research Information is collected from a number of publicly available as well as paid databases. Public sources involve publications by different associations and governments, annual reports and statements of companies, white papers and research publications by recognized industry experts and renowned academia etc. Paid data sources include third party authentic industry databases.
Once data collection is done through secondary research, primary interviews are conducted with different stakeholders across the value chain like manufacturers, distributors, ingredient/input suppliers, end customers and other key opinion leaders of the industry. Primary research is used both to validate the data points obtained from secondary research and to fill in the data gaps after secondary research.
The market engineering phase involves analysing the data collected, market breakdown and forecasting. Macroeconomic indicators and bottom-up and top-down approaches are used to arrive at a complete set of data points that give way to valuable qualitative and quantitative insights. Each data point is verified by the process of data triangulation to validate the numbers and arrive at close estimates.
The market engineered data is verified and validated by a number of experts, both in-house and external.
REPORT WRITING/ PRESENTATION
After the data is curated by the mentioned highly sophisticated process, the analysts begin to write the report. Garnering insights from data and forecasts, insights are drawn to visualize the entire ecosystem in a single report.