Local Pharmacy vs. Online Pharmacy

One of the primary benefits people cite for using an online pharmacy is price. Typically, the prices for medications from an online pharmacy are less because of where the medications are produced, because the company has a lower overhead because there is not a physical store, the company has a large network of retailers to draw from, or a combination of factors.

Another benefit of using an online pharmacy is convenience. Your prescription can be submitted at any time, there is no need to rush to the pharmacy during business hours, you don’t have to wait in any long lines, and refills can be set up to be sent automatically. However, there are also disadvantages. If you do not use the same online pharmacy all of the time, they may not be aware of any potential drug interactions, it can be difficult to find someone to answer any specific questions about medications you may have, it is not possible to get the prescription the same day, and you lose the personal interaction available in a person to person transaction.

Many of the benefits to using a local pharmacy reflect the disadvantages found in an online pharmacy. Some of these include being sure a person is watching for any negative drug interactions, access to someone if you have questions about a medication, and the ability to get medications the same day they are prescribed. Disadvantages include the possibility of an increased cost for the medications, having to fill prescriptions within a set period of time, a smaller selection of medications and their generic counterparts, and contributing to the continuance of a locally owned business.

When I speak of local pharmacies, I am referring to a small independently owned business rather than a pharmacy within one of the large chains. However, these large chains do offer a third option that is actually a combination of the two. They have pharmacies staffed during regular business hours, and many now also have an online counterpart as well. This allows customers the best of both worlds with the only drawback being the lack of support for locally owned businesses. However, the large chains do use locals for a large portion of their workforce so it is still beneficial to the community.

Which type of pharmacy do you prefer; online, locally owned, or large chains that combine a physical location and online convenience?

With all of the shopping options available online, it was only a matter of time before people started ordering their prescriptions online. Before making switching to an online pharmacy, however, one should look at the advantages and disadvantages of both methods.