The President of the Association of companies the Internet-trade (AKIT) Alexei Fedorov explains why you need to legalize online trading of medication.
Photo: from the personal archives of Alexei Fedorov
Let’s start with a simple question: what is the relevance of distance for trade? The main advantage is the extension of the standard commercial B2C markets through increased geographical reach and budget of logistics. Online trading helps to make goods cheaper and to extend the range in the most remote corners of the country, even if there is no retail store of any brand. Today e-Commerce covers the whole territory of Russia, and purchased online goods are delivered in absolutely all cities and villages. The Internet can buy, without exaggeration, everything. Including drugs, alcohol and jewelry. Although this part of the product categories is banned and sold online illegally, which does not allow a bona fide market participants (large domestic networks, producers) to enter it. Small “black” and “grey” companies quietly sell low-quality, counterfeit and very dangerous for health and life product.
Now the volume of distance selling of medicinal drugs correctly could not be assessed. Based on circumstantial evidence (the number of requests for the purchase of medicines in the search engines, the results of surveys of consumers) give the indicators at the level of 5-8% of the retail market, that is, between 45 and 75 billion rubles.
In AKITA, we believe that the possibility of realization of medicinal products via the Internet will allow to meet the existing demand of the population for the purchase of drugs and increase the provision of medicines.
It is necessary to develop a correct and safe mechanism of action in the sale of drugs. Why is it necessary? First and foremost, in order for the consumers in small towns are not faced with a deficiency of rare and expensive medications. Because the efficiency of delivery can often save their life.
Modern online shopping deliver the goods in cities with population less than 50 thousand people in up to four working days. We mean that such terms will be saved and distance trade of medicines.
The necessity of implementing resolution remote trade in drugs, alcohol, and jewelry described in the “strategy of development of e-Commerce to 2025” and the “road map” documents, authored by the AKITA. Currently under negotiation with the Ministry of health of the mechanism that will be used for the security purchase drugs online. And one of the biggest stumbling blocks is a method of drug delivery.
Today in our country there are legitimate online pharmacies, but they don’t deliver. You can book the drug on the website, but the purchase will do directly to the pharmacy that is convenient to you. Of course, this procedure also saves the consumer time. This “zero” stage of development – start-up.
The next step should be shipping over the counter drugs. In accordance with the laws of the Russian Federation, sale of medicines is only possible with the participation of persons with appropriate education. And then there is conflict. Should the courier, bringing the drugs have pharmaceutical education? Will he be able to advise on methods of application of medicines and their contraindications? How he should advise the consumer?
The second stage in the development of online sales of medicines will be the implementation and prescription drugs. The Ministry of health for several years preparing a plan to transition to electronic prescriptions. And if the online sellers will allow you to integrate with hospitals, which will send an electronic prescription directly to the store, patients can quickly and comfortably get the necessary medications (of course, subject to identification).
Internet trade in medicines is permitted in many European countries and in the United States. In some countries, the question of delivery is decided so: the order is placed in a special container, it is sealed, stamp on check, the inventory and the signature. The goods are delivered by courier to the client, which accepts it, to assess the tightness of the packing. The person who collected and packaged goods, can consult of the consumer.
When introducing telemedicine (and we are sure that this will happen in the very near future), distance selling of drugs will become even more important. The consumer can use the Internet to consult a doctor who will prescribe him the necessary medicine. It will be possible in any online store. The process will be fully automated and digital. And it’s a totally real prospect of the next 10-15 years.
A very important point which we must not forget the control sellers of medicines and the quality of the sold products. The state should consider the law on pre-trial blocking resources, selling counterfeit goods, according to consumer complaints. Indeed, in the case of medicines this is especially important.
Moreover, all Internet pharmacies should be licensed and certified and also included in the General register. The sale must be carried out only by accredited online venues. The online store must have all the necessary information about the seller and the data markup on the website.
Internet trade of medicines is very important, because online sale of drugs will reduce the chain from producer to buyer. Coupled with a healthy market competition that will create a favorable environment for price reduction in the proportion of counterfeit goods.
The author is President of the Association of companies of Internet trade
The opinion of the author may not coincide with ideas of editorial