Online pharmacies struggle to compete with bricks and mortar

The online pharmacy sector is struggling to compete with bricks and mortar businesses at both ends of town.

The sector is expected to reap revenue growth of 1.1% a year, but the number of online pharmacies is in decline, according to a report by research firm IBIS World.

Online pharmacies – which earn 12% of revenue from prescription medication - simply “cannot compete” with traditional full-service pharmacies or big-box pharmacies, writes Arna Richardson in the September report.

“Online pharmacies usually cannot offer the range of value-added services provided by full-service pharmacists and chemists, such as blood pressure and cholesterol checks, flu vaccinations and in-home medicine reviews.

“Big-box pharmacies, such as Chemist Warehouse, operate similarly to online pharmacies, providing fewer value-added services and focusing more on price discounting.”