The global ePharmacy market is characterized by stiff competition. Transparency Market Research finds while, on one hand there are well-entrenched players, namely CVS Caremark and Walgreen Co., on the other hand there are ambitious new entrants, namely Rowlands Pharmacy and DocMorris NV Ltd. Companies such as Lloyds Pharmacy and eDrugstore.MD are amongst the promising ones registering relatively median growth, in comparison to market leaders. Medisave and Dr. Fox Pharmacy are companies, who have been pegged as niche players, are predicted to hold significant market share over the forecast period.
The market position of key vendors is determined using parameters such as geographic presence, product portfolio/service offerings, duration of activity in the market, and their recent key developments. CVS Caremark has overtaken all other companies on various parameters, to emerge as the dominant player in the ePharmacy market. It has witnessed decent growth in the past few years, which can be attributed to improved healthcare services and new, innovative products. Moreover, the company is concentrating more on developing its product line for pharmaceutical and beauty products.
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The global market for ePharmacies stood at US$29.35 bn in 2014. It is forecasted to expand at an impressive CAGR of 17.7% during the forecast period from 2015 to 2023.
North America to Remain Dominant Market
Electronic pharmacy or internet pharmacy, popularly known as ePharmacy, enables the online retailing of medicines. Given the convenience it accords on account of round-the-clock purchase and delivery, useful information on prescribed drugs, and transparency in prices, among others, its popularity is growing by the day. The ePharmacy market, however, is yet to reach its full potential, with framework on ethical practices and governing policies on treatment and safe delivery of prescription drugs, still not built properly.
On the basis of geography, the ePharmacy market is segmented into: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America. Healthcare delivery has evolved rapidly in North America in the past decade. North America currently leads the ePharmacy market owing to the high internet penetration and increasing number of takers for online prescription and delivery of medicines. The region is predicted to remain in a dominant position, in terms of revenue generation, in the forecast period. ePharmacy, on the flip side, has also led to substance abuse brought about by emergence of rogue online pharmacies. Taking cognizance of the situation, the authorities have implemented stringent regulations in the market. This has stifled market growth to some extent. The market for ePharmacies in North America was US$10.80 bn and it is expected to register a CAGR of 16.9% during the forecast period from 2015 to 2023 to reach US$44.93 bn in 2023. Europe, whose market is a bit wobbly currently, is expected to overtake North America by 2023, on account of better healthcare infrastructure and growing trend of online drugs ordering.
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Increased Internet Penetration Leading to Increased Takers for Online Pharmacy
ePharmacies have been around for quite a while now in North America and Europe and are fast gaining traction in Asia Pacific too. Factors pushing growth in the ePharmacy market are increasing internet penetration both developed and developing economies, rising elderly population, and tech savvy consumers increasingly warming up to the idea of online shopping. “Purchase of prescription drugs through ePharmacies/online pharmacies would eliminate the excess cost incurred in the distribution of drugs from manufacturer to end consumer by eliminating the long distribution channel. Additionally, comprehensive information about the drugs at the consumer’s fingertips and round-the-clock delivery of drugs are some major reasons driving the shift toward the purchase of drugs through ePharmacies,” states the TMR analyst about growth drivers. He also states, “Deepening Internet penetration and easy availability of controlled prescription drugs such as stimulants, anxiolytics, narcotic painkillers, and sedative hypnotics through online retail platforms is indirectly resulting in increasing instances of substance abuse and has raised concerns for public health.” This, has resulted in stringent regulations in many regions, especially U.S., hampering market growth. Besides, the emergence of a large number of rogue pharmacies is also eroding consumers’ trust.
The information presented in this review is based on a Transparency Market Research report, titled, “ePharmacy Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2015-2023.”