The latest trading trend is to do business and avoid human interference. It is popular in all spheres for example online business like consumer goods, taxi booking, food supply, garments, and electronic goods. Despite having the inconvenience and other drawbacks consumer is showing great support and enthusiasm. Recently medicines are also added to the list by entrepreneurs like Ned Meds, 1.0 Mg, and Pharma Easy. The online pharmacy was first to be introduced in the USA and begins its operations successfully.
During its journey, several operational, legal and logistics issues have propped up. The opposition by government, regulatory authority and practicing pharmacists, doctors, nurses and field force of marketing and detailing for various conflicts of interest are staged in public expressing their fear and dislike for online pharmacy operations.
e-Commerce was first to arrive on the internet followed by online trading consumer goods and online pharmacies. Consumer protection was ensured by framing rules and regulations in online trading. In online pharmacy, there is a legal binding of involvement of registered pharmacists widespread access to prescription medicines may lead to chaos leading to serious issues of patient safety. High-risk non-therapeutic uses like recreation drugs and sports drugs which are detrimental to public health and the health of social wellbeing. The dugs need to be in safe hands and to be dispensed against a prescription to a patient. Even in chain pharmacies, supply, manufacturer to the dispensing point there are issues regarding roles and responsibilities of carrying and forwarding Agents, wholesalers retail pharmacies. To locate a place for online pharmacy among the existing stakeholders is a major challenge as there are company’s warehouse, marketing team, sales team or operations.
The regulator’s concern is about the problems arising due to the distribution of medicines out of their orbit and control. There are chances of misuse, illegal distributions and access to medicines which unmanageable negative outcomes of drug abuse and illegal commerce can have, especially for substance mentioned in psycho tropical drugs.
Paper prescriptions are containing 7 key points like Date, Prescription heading & main body, direction to Pharmacist & Patients, doctor name and prescriber name. Superscription contains the date, patient name, address and prescription symbol Rx means you take. The survey in the market pointed out the missing attributes of paper prescriptions are a source of errors, further handmade prescription does not support the build of database which is essential to retrieve the medical history of the patient. Comprehensive information about the patient like demographics, disease, and drug used by the patient.
e-prescription came into practice due to necessity as a conventional prescription written by doctors carried by the patient to take medicine from the pharmacy. The content of the prescription was seldom missing in practice. The patient having multiple doctors for multiple conditions shall always have multiple prescriptions and polypharmacy. These issues are well addressed when paper prescription changed to e-prescription. Patient confidentiality is managed professionally and does not have any scope of breach of patient information.
Using e-prescription, Doctors write all types of prescriptions on his laptop or desktop and sends it electronically to the pharmacy. The pharmacy can prepare a medicine basket for patients and waits for the patient to collect medicine along with instruction. Pharmacists should work on prescriptions and prepare a pharmaceutical care plan and patient counseling plan.
Conventionally, a prescription was written in secret code language with abbreviations in practice. This was in practice to avoid patients to know the name of the drug and prevent them from abusing by self-medication. This is insignificant over the times as drug information is shared with the patient to make therapy successful. Now accessibility and availability of information are easy and simple through search engines like google, yahoo, and database like Medscape. There are chances of medical errors due to miscommunication in handwritten prescriptions.
The operation of E-prescription though faced resistance initially but it is now being accepted in developed countries and it’s unveiling in developing countries like India. E-pharmacy is considered an extension of e-commerce where patient efforts of collecting medicine are avoided by online pharmacy service providers. E-prescription allows the patient to save time and medicine can be received at the patient’s doorstep. E-pharmacy is providing the services of delivering medicine through e-prescription.
The pharmacists are a very important stakeholder in supply chain management of medicine. They are responsible to help patients achieve safety and good outcomes. For this pharmacist, status has been elevated from dispensing pharmacists to care providers. The advancement in dispensing medicine in the presence of a pharmacist can improve the quality of services, which helps to achieve the quality of treatment and patient safety. The blend of e-pharmacy, with e-prescription in the supervision of registered pharmacists, can modernize the pharmacy system for the 21st Century.