Internet Health Care Profiles Future of Internet Pharmacies
Noting the "wid[e] divergence of opinion" about Internet pharmacies' "eventual fate," this month's issue of Internet Health Care magazine reports in its cover story that the industry "remain[s] upbeat." While some observers contend that use of Internet pharmacies will become "a routine method" of buying prescriptions, others argue that the strongest Internet pharmacies will be acquired by pharmacy chains or "other entities" in the next 12 to 18 months, while those that are not purchased "will fade from the scene." Online pharmacies have struggled to attract the attention of physicians, who have "no incentive" to direct patients to such sites. In addition, Internet Health Care reports that consumers have become "more cautious about conducting transactions that might involve sensitive health care information." Online pharmacies also face a threat from pharmacy chains, which have "increasingly buil[t] their Web presence." To attract more consumers, Internet pharmacies have sought partnerships with payers, health care organizations and other Web sites. The field of Internet pharmacies shrunk by about 25% in 2000, due to acquisitions, mergers and companies going out of business, and observers predict that the industry will face another "turbulent year" in 2001 (Bazzoli, Internet Health Care, March 2001).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.