A lot of people and businesses are facing great challenges in 2020, this is particularly true for pharmacies. We look at some of the issues facing pharmacies as they continue to try to serve their customers and improve their health.
The global pandemic has led to lots of pressure on medical supplies. Not only has the distribution of drugs been hampered thanks to the unusual situation, but there has been an increased demand for certain products.
Shortages have not only occurred because of increased demand for certain pills, but also from people hoarding certain drugs. There was a problem with doctors overprescribing unproven treatments for COVID-19, reducing the availability for the people that needed those drugs for their original medical use.
There has been a particular demand for drugs like hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine that have been prescribed to people without any need for it. This inevitably harms the health of patients that require this medication and can’t get it.
Some doctors have been prescribing these medications for themselves, friends, and family, claiming the treatments are needed for rheumatoid arthritis. While pharmacists might have suspicions that this isn’t true, they can’t be sure and still have to fill the prescription. False prescribing of medication is fraudulent.
This has led to some pharmacists having to file reports about doctors who are suspiciously prescribing medications of this type. Though it will be very difficult to prove and is likely to continue until the pandemic is over.
The drugs concerned didn’t even have much evidence for their successful use in the treatment of coronavirus. The fears of people pushed their use even without enough evidence to prove that they were worth taking.
Government agencies can only really try to encourage doctors to act more responsibly in their prescribing. It is almost inevitable that this sort of thing will continue and there is little pharmacies can really do to stop it.
Online pharmacies have faced increased problems getting orders to their customers, thanks to the pandemic. This is a big problem for customers who could find themselves running out of the medications they need to stay healthy.
There are multiple reasons for this situation. The pharmacy may find it difficult to have the same levels of staff available to fill orders, with people needing to self isolate if they are found to have been in contact with someone infected.
Delivery services are likely to be under more strain at a time like this, as well. This will lead to slower delivery times than are normally expected.
Pharmacies can also face stock supply problems. This isn’t helped by some countries restricting the export of the chemicals required in pharmaceutical manufacture. This disrupts the normal trade patterns and can halt production if the manufacturer carries low quantities of these chemicals to improve profits.
There is also going to a larger focus on the manufacture of drugs to deal with the virus and on the vaccine doses. While this is essential work that should be prioritized, it can mean that stocks of other medicines could run low. People still need their other medications despite the pandemic, and it could be difficult for pharmacies to fulfill this need.
Even with the problems the world is facing thanks to the coronavirus, there are other issues that the pharmacy industry continues to face.
The dangers of counterfeit medications continue to plague online medical purchases. There are also many online pharmacies that sell medicines that aren’t from reliable sources. The best way to avoid purchasing counterfeit drugs online is to check pharmacy reviews 2020, so that you make sure you only put your trust in stores that are reliable.
If you find yourself buying medication that is counterfeit, you won’t be able to tell from the packaging or just looking at the pills. The counterfeiters work hard to make sure the drugs look just like the real thing, but the effect the pills have on the patient may be very different from the brand name drugs.
You could decide to have the pills tested if you are unsure, but this is going to be very expensive. This will wipe out any savings you might have made during the purchase of the pills and will also mean that you have to wait for the result.
If you do end up taking the risk with pills from an unreliable source, you could find that they don’t do what was expected. This will alert you to the fact that the pills are counterfeit and you will know not to continue with them.
Sometimes, however, you either won’t notice or the pills will have some effect. This is a much worse situation and can lead to your health taking a turn in the wrong direction. If you partly treat an illness, it could lead to the doctors being required to do more to get you well. This might mean you have to undergo surgery because the pills didn’t do the job they were expected to do.
The meds could contain a larger amount of active ingredients than intended. The consequences of this can be very bad too, with unpredictable results. This is why it is vitally important to make sure you can trust the pharmacy you are using to supply genuine pills to you.
With the pandemic and the knock-on effects that have been created, it could lead to lower quality drugs being produced. This could be due to less staff available just when more pills were needed to be produced.
It also means that pills from less reputable sources could find their way into legitimate supply chains. This is always a potential problem and there have been many unfortunate cases in the past, but it could be more likely in the current world situation.
Over the Counter
Over the counter, treatments are becoming more popular with households. With the average American family spending more than $300 per year. This is a trend that appears to be heading upwards.
The reason for this is the ever increasing medical costs that households have to face. Over the counter meds, offers a way to self medicate without an expensive trip to the doctors and an expensive prescription to fill.
It is also more convenient for patients, without the need to make an appointment and take time out of their day, but it also has some risks. While the patient will get treated faster, there is a risk that they aren’t getting the right treatments for them.
Pharmacies have to be alert to this problem and make sure that they don’t allow their customers to purchase over the counter meds that are unsuitable. They have to ensure that the customer avoids doing more harm than good. They can do this by asking more questions and offering a range of options to better treat the customer.
More often these days people expect fast delivery, with next-day or even same-day delivery an expectation with many purchases.
If a patient has to wait weeks for their pills to arrive, it could put them off shopping with the pharmacy. Drugstores need to do more to cut down delivery times, with staff working longer hours, and shipping faster.
The security of data has always been very important and continues to be so in 2020. Pharmacies need to do more to make sure their systems and website aren’t susceptible to a security breach that could expose customers to fraud and data loss.
The way that pharmacies use patient data can also add to the service they provide. If pharmacies can use this information to better serve their customers, they will have better outcomes.
If they have knowledge of the patient’s medical history and the meds they have taken, that is one thing, but this needs to be useable. All too often this information will be held in a database but not used when it offers an advantage.
More advanced IT systems should be able to organize this information together in a way that is easy to access when required. This should enable pharmacies to create better treatment plans and save time in the daily operation of the business.
It is straightforward to dispense regular drugs to customers, but specialty treatments are becoming increasingly popular. They offer customers medications that better meet their particular condition and avoid ingredients that don’t agree with the patient.
This might be adding a flavor to pills, or altering some of the ingredients in a drug formula. Doctors are more commonly looking towards this type of tailored medicine approach, and patients like the benefits from it too.
This market will continue to grow as customers increasingly expect it. Specialty services are very lucrative for pharmacies as well and are increasingly likely to be paid for by healthcare plans.
In an incredibly difficult year, pharmacies face a lot of serious issues that they need to get on top of. But if they can come through the challenges they will be on a great footing when the pandemic comes to an end, and they will be at the top of the pharmacy reviews 2020 and beyond.
POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVESThere are also quite many online pharmacies on the net that have proved themselves to be excellent ones. We keep an eye on them as well. They get into our reviews from time to time, and you can see them on the pages of our site.
We have placed the best online pharmacies into a separate list on the Pharmacy Ratings page. Ratings of online pharmacies that have successfully passed verification and check by our team: Link>>>