Electronic prescribing (e-pharmacy) — Evolution in Pharmaceutical Sector
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Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) refers to the exchange of both prescription and medication history information among prescribers, pharmacies, and insurance payers/pharmacy benefit managers. E-prescribing can be done using an EHR system, a web-based program, or e-prescribing software. Pharmacies can also send e-refill requests back to the prescribing provider. The e-prescription database can allow the provider access to the patient’s medication history, preferred formulary, and eligibility information.
The e-prescribing market size was valued at $885.6 million in 2018 and is projected to reach $4,152.7 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 21.4% from 2019 to 2026. E-prescribing is an application that sends patients' or end-users prescriptions electronically from their computer to chosen pharmacies. The primary goal of e-prescribing models in an EHR or HIT system is efficient transmission and receipt of complete, accurate, and unambiguous prescription orders that help optimize pharmacy processing and fulfillment, thereby eliminating disruptions in workflow and delays in inpatient care.
Indian e-pharmacy market size and potential
The estimated size of the ePharmacy market in India is Rs 1,000 crore which is just 1 percent of the traditional Indian pharma market. It is estimated that by 2025 it may grow to 10–15 percent of the total size. According to Frost & Sullivan in a recent white paper on e-pharmacies in India — the market in India is estimated to be around $ 512 million (~ 3,500 crores) in 2018 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 63% to reach the US $ 3,657 million (~ Rs.25,000 crore) by 2022. The report further reveals that although the e-pharmacy segment is at its nascent stage in India, it has the potential to grow to a very large industry segment soon.
Further, on analyzing Indian states for the same search term, it is observed West Bengal, Haryana, Delhi, Jharkhand, and Odisha have been the top five states where people have googled online medicines and medical apps. “The statistics show that more and more Indians are accessing the internet and that too on their smartphones. This notable and gradual change in behavior is an important factor for mHealth adoption.
e-Pharmacy is at its nascent stage in India, but like other categories, has the potential to be a very large industry segment soon. The online purchase of medicines is gaining momentum in India. The advent of online pharmacy retailers in the Indian market will further increase the penetration of the organized pharmacy segment.
It is expected that the e-Pharmacy model could account for 15%-20% of the total pharma sales in India over the next 10 years, largely by enhancing adherence and access to medicines for a majority of the under-served population. Currently, many e-Pharmacy players such as Medlife, Netmeds,1MG, Pharmeasy, Myra, CareOnGo, and Pharmasafe operate in this segment. Medlife is currently a leading player with about a 30% market share of the total e-pharmacy market in India.
Benefits of E-Prescribing
E-Prescribing gives physicians and other prescribers the potential to access and use information such as patient medication history and prescription benefit information (formulary and eligibility) to support clinical decisions about drug therapies. Prescribers use this information to perform more robust drug-drug interaction alerts, drug-allergy interaction alerts, and to prescribe medication that complies with a patient’s drug benefit.
By having more comprehensive and accurate information at the time of prescribing, the practice can improve the quality of care, potentially increase adherence, and reduce the number of callbacks from the pharmacist to clarify prescription information. By managing the prescription refill authorization process electronically, practices can save time and improve efficiency while allowing medication to be delivered in a timelier manner to patients.
Pharmacies benefit from an E-Prescribing connection by spending less time interpreting handwriting or re-keying information into their computer systems. And, because prescribers have more information available at the time of prescribing, there is a lower chance that a pharmacy will need to initiate a call back to the practice to clarify prescription information.
The hospital segment registered high revenue growth in 2018 among all the segments in the global e-prescribing market and is expected to continue this trend over the coming years. This is attributed to rising in the adoption of electronic prescribing and medication administration systems with benefits such as accurate communication among healthcare professionals and reduced adverse drug events, medication errors, and healthcare costs.
· Rapid internet penetration in India
· Digital India Initiative
· e-Healthcare Initiatives by the Government
· Increase in Health insurance penetration
· Ayushman Bharat Health Insurance Scheme
· Changing disease patterns in India
· Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy
· Single Window Approval
· Increased Spending on Medicines
· Growth in Healthcare Financing Products
· Booming Indian Economy
· Increase in Domestic Demand
· Growing Number of Lifestyle Diseases
Government initiatives and incentive programs
Government initiatives were primarily focused on the integration of technology into the healthcare sector to ease patient waiting time and service delivery. The advent of technological transformation in healthcare shifted this focus toward standardizing the fragmented technological advance approaches among which the development of standards for e-prescribing systems and implementation gained high momentum over the past decade.
It's a factor that drives the e-prescribing market trends during the forecast period. For example, in 2011, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services established the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, which encouraged eligible hospitals & critical access hospitals, and clinicians to implement, upgrade (AIU), demonstrate, and adopt the advance Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT).
Existing e-Pharmacy Models
Inventory-based Model of e-Pharmacy Inventory-based model of eCommerce means an activity where the inventory of goods and services is owned by the eCommerce company and the products are sold to the customers directly.
Marketplace-based model of eCommerce means that the technology companies act as a facilitator between a buyer and a seller. In this model, the e-Pharmacy plays the role of an aggregator. It provides a technology platform that connects the buyers and sellers of medicines. The e-Pharmacy website impanels licensed pharmacies and lists their products.
E-Pharmacy also offers competitive pricing which thereby enables less affluent people to afford medicines. There are a lot of technology advancements that are coming up in the form of applications that help in bringing price transparency, creating awareness, finding an appropriate healthcare service provider, medicine reminders, and pregnancy alerts to the consumers.
In addition, e-Pharmacy models are well aligned to address key known issues in pharmacy retail for tracking authenticity, traceability of medicine, abuse prevention, addressing consumption of drugs without prescription, tax loss, and value-added services for consumer empowerment in healthcare.
Sources: Frost&Sullivan, megagadgets, medstore,cdcgovt.
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