CHESHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - March 6, 2013) - High street chemists in the UK have been strangely sluggish about embracing the internet revolution - and the result is that many are missing out on vital opportunities.
The reticent trend of chemists is in stark contrast to UK government policy, which set up the NHS Direct service 12 years ago with a view to time-saving for both medical professionals and patients. The NHS's self-help websites now receive 1.5 million hits per month while most dispensing chemist services receive none - as most are offline.
Even in the US, which is still the most connected country in the world, 40% of pharmacies do not have any presence on the internet, according to Business News Daily.
"Traditionally, people assume that medicines and drugs are too tightly controlled for internet distribution," said a spokesperson for Rowlands Pharmacy.
"But in fact the internet has long reached the point when security and privacy achieved an equivalent level to what you would find in a bricks and mortar chemist, and it is just a case of educating people to that effect."
According to Rowlands, online prescription services are a natural corollary of internet usage. Medical advice has been a driving force for millions of sites since the late 1990s, as potentially ill and housebound people can access it quickly without having to wait for a doctor's appointment. As long ago as 2008, a survey for Info please listed the sixth most popular internet activity as 'Looking for health/medical info'.
"Chemists are arguably the last piece of the jigsaw," said the spokesperson for Rowlands Pharmacy.
"Prescriptions have always entailed leaving the house to go to the doctor and then the chemist to get it filled. We are making these unnecessary journeys possible in the virtual world."
Prescription services are one of the few remaining quiet markets online and Rowlands Pharmacy is making huge inroads into it by marrying up its Rowlands medical advice service to its online prescriptions service. Both are intended to save time and money for patients and healthcare professionals.
According to a 2012 survey for the NHS, 51 million visits are made to a GP each year by people with problems which would clear up with help from an over-the-counter remedy, or simply by themselves. The vast majority of these could be dealt with online by the medical advice service, especially with some of the more trivial complaints - 40,000 people visit the doctor each year with dandruff, for example.
The reverse situation relates to people not consulting a GP when they should, and this would also be curbed by the medical advice and online prescription services.
For more information about Rowlands Online Pharmacy, visit www.rowlandspharmacy.co.uk.