Online pharmacy vs Local pharmacy Stores: Pros, Cons, and Recommendations

Is there anything available we can’t buy online these days? As the internet plays an important role in our lives. There is no surprise that pharmacies started to move to online platforms. The evolution of online sales of drugs started in the late 1990s. It began to spread rapidly around the world.

As the delivery business started to sprout out, it promises convenience and low prices to customers. People love the convenience of clicking “Buy” from the comfort of their homes but they started to lose the human touch. 

The Pros and cons of online pharmacies Vs Local pharmacies have become a subject of great debate today. In order to understand this, let’s take a depth look at them,

What is an online pharmacy?

Online Pharmacies are pharmacies that sell medicines on the internet and deliver them to customers. It allows customers to order their prescription medicines from registered pharmacists via the internet and deliver their medicines to their doorstep. That is to say, Online pharmacies are very easy to use and continue to spread rapidly, starting to replace traditional pharmacies.

How does online pharmacy work?

  1. To purchase medicines online, patients need to download mobile applications to their phones or tablets. 
  2. After that, they can create a request for medicines by uploading a copy of their scanned prescriptions to the system. Each and every drug request is monitored by a team of registered pharmacists. 
  3. Registered pharmacists direct the prescriptions they deem valid to the pharmacy warehouse in the region where the drugs will be given to the patient
  4. This special system can work on a mobile and web basis and is as secure as it is easy to use

Pros of Online Pharmacy Delivery


It is easy to order online medicines with prescriptions. Individuals who live great distances from traditional pharmacies, the elderly, disabled persons, and those whose daily schedule includes additional hassles, all can benefit from the easy and fast purchasing of medicines online. Additionally, shipping charges are often less than the expense included to visit a traditional pharmacy. 


In a short span of time, you can log into the internet, head over to an online pharmacy delivery app, and buy any prescription medicine that you want. It takes less time and effort than traveling to your local pharmacy and having to wait in line for a long time to get your medicine.

Private & Confidential

This is particularly helpful to people who find it hard to speak face-to-face with doctors and pharmacists. It is also helpful to people who feel as if they have very embarrassing or shameful situations like acne, STDs, hair loss, insomnia, etc. Without feeling embarrassed or judged, they can order their products comfortably.

Lower Cost

Drug shopping on the internet helps a buyer to save more money. further Much research explicates that one-third of the price can be saving on medicines if they are bought online.  

Range of Choices

Online pharmacies offer a great variety of options to their customers. They usually have huge stocks of drugs than a physical pharmacy store.

Drug Approval

Most of these online stores usually have the process of drug approval before dispatching medicines. They require a prescription from a physician or the customer has to fill up a questionnaire. This questionnaire will be reviewed by a doctor before the drug is dispatched.

Medical Information

Some pharmacies provide useful information about medications and diseases as well as links to medical resources such as universities, government agencies, and health associations. This information will be useful for customers who are looking for additional information.

Cons of Online Pharmacy Delivery

Some online Pharmacies don’t Adequately Safeguard your Health

Some online pharmacies do not require any prescriptions and with this, you might take any medication that will not be appropriate for you. This leads patients to extreme stages of sickness.  However some illegal online drug stores deal with dangerous contaminated, counterfeit, or outdated drugs that can lead to dangerous drug interactions and causes severe damage to people.

Lack of Physical evaluation in place

Most of the online stores do not have any processes of medical supervision or physical evaluation in place. If there is any such process, these might not be performed by licensed health professionals.

Need to use the same Online Pharmacy all of the Time

If you do not use the same online pharmacy all of the time, they may not be aware of any potential drug interactions. It will be difficult to find someone to answer any specific questions about medications you may have. Further it is not possible to get the prescription the same day and you might lose the personal interaction. 

Leakage of Personal and Financial Information

It’s important for pharmacy websites to publish their privacy policy and these policies should state that none of your personal information will be shared with third parties. Online financial transactions should be secured through adequate use of encryption technology to prevent the hacking of user information.

What are local pharmacy stores?

A local pharmacy is a retail shop that provides pharmaceutical drugs to its customers among other products. At the pharmacy, a pharmacist will oversee the fulfillment of medical prescriptions and they used to counsel patients about prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs or about healthcare and wellness issues.

How does Local pharmacy work?

  1. To purchase medicines from a local pharmacy, patients or their guardians  need to visit the store in person  
  2. After that, they can enquire about the essential medications that are prescribed by the doctor. These medicines will be overseen by the pharmacist and check the dosage based on the prescription. 
  3. Once the customers make the payment, the medicines will be handover to the customers/patients and they can cross-check the medicines again.

Pros of local Pharmacy

  1. Local pharmacies mean better rapport

Small pharmacies are within neighborhoods where residents were able to know the pharmacists very well. Due to this, patients tend to form stronger bonds with local pharmacists. Pharmacists can take extra time to offer more advice, listen to concerns, and encourage medication to their customers. This added rapport can make disease or pain management a bit easier.

  1. Better service from a small establishment

Local pharmacies are highly customer-focused. They used to provide value-added services like health checks, medication reviews, and vaccinations. Also, these pharmacists will know the patient’s medical history and even the patient’s doctor due to the periodic visit of the patient. This leads to more accurate prescriptions and collaboration between pharmacist and doctor for the patient’s good.

Cons of Local Pharmacy

Time Sometimes drugs are not available at nearby pharmacy stores and it will be very difficult for elderly and busy scheduled people to see proper drugs at right time to prevent the risk to patients’ health. 

Price – The price of drugs is slightly more than online pharmacy medicines due to the middleman’s profit. The patient due to their poverty may find difficulty in buying costly and branded drugs which may prolong their long-term diseases.

Inconvenience – Chronic elderly patients who are not able to go to pharmacy stores may cause difficulty in finding stores situated at long distances or unrelated places.

Our Recommendation

Consumer awareness is the key to overcoming any fraudulent activities. They need to verify the authenticity of the service provider as well as the product.  So, that avoids websites that sell drugs without a legal prescription. On the other hand, many good online pharmacies that provide well-defined safety and quality benchmarks, uncomplicated privacy and security policies, a verifiable physical address, and a licensed pharmacist on a roll. 

If you prefer privacy, and convenience and wish to save time, then you can prefer online pharmacy stores. On the other hand if you need a real-time shopping experience, then we recommend you prefer a local pharmacy. 

To sum up, it’s up to customers to choose the type of pharmacy they prefer based on the circumstances.

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