Internet and online businesses gradually change our lives. What used to be impossible two years ago now has turned into a matter of daily performance. With Internet, we are no longer limited in our activities and can broaden the scope of all major operations that have previously been unachievable. Healthcare and medicines are not exceptions, and where Internet works to provide us with additional opportunities for communication, we have finally been given a chance to reconsider the costs of all healthcare services and medical preparations.
Online medical markets have produced an irreversible change in the structure of healthcare services and human thinking. With the advent of the new technological age and the growing globalization, customers have become more attentive to what they buy and how much they pay for it. Imported medicines purchased online offer a competitive alternative to brand-name drugs. Simultaneously, imported drugs are not always licensed and may create serious health risks.
In this situation, the state should actively work to impose severe price restrictions on the major brand-name drugs and to develop effective monitoring systems with regard to the imported drugs that are sold online, to guarantee that customers are given a viable choice and are not limited in their access to quality healthcare services and medical preparations.
True, the growing customer commitment to imported medicines is the result of the national pharmaceutical markets’ being largely non-regulated. Americans typically pay the highest prices for brand-name drugs because, unlike Canada and many other countries, the United States does not impose price controls on pharmaceutical companies” (Colliver). The growing number of online pharmacies reflects the misbalanced nature of the price strategies, to which present day pharmaceutical companies adhere. Despite the fact that brand-name drugs are sold with significant discounts, the majority of healthcare insurance plans does not cover them and does not make them affordable for consumers.
The current economic crisis makes Americans more attentive toward their expenditures, and online pharmaceuticals offer an excellent opportunity to obtain the needed list of medical preparations for a much lower price. “If the government doesn’t get its act together, and with 47 million who are uninsured, there is a marketplace for alternative supply of some of these drugs” (Colliver). It appears that in the current system of healthcare services customers are not given any relevant choice.
With the absence of price restrictions, pharmaceutical companies feel free to establish prices as high as they deem necessary, making customers seek effective alternatives elsewhere. That is why imported drugs as such, and online imported drugs in particular have caused a strategic shift in human thinking, giving people a chance to resolve their health issues at a lower cost. With the growing number of Internet users and given the cost-effectiveness of imported drugs, customers are no longer willing to stick to traditional purchasing practices and choose a technological way of resolving their health issues.
More and more people realize the benefits of online pharmaceutical marketing. Many of them enjoy the freedom of choice and convenience they are offered by online pharmaceuticals. “More Americans appear willing to take a calculated risk in the absence of prescription drug coverage” (Colliver). In other words, when health and life are at stake, customer will not think twice before ordering an affordable imported medical preparation from online suppliers.
For many of them, imported medicals offer the most attractive and acceptable option; that is why online companies gradually grow to cover larger shares of online markets even without any specific advertising. Unfortunately, ordering imported drugs online is not always safe. Despite the fact that technology has forever changed the direction of human thinking and has made the process of purchasing imported drugs fast and convenient, imported drugs are associated with substantial risks. Customers cannot always be confident that they buy an authentic drug from an authentic foreign manufacturer.
Some Web sites hawk controlled substances without a prescription or falsely purport to get drugs from a Canadian pharmacy or other more trustworthy source. While operators try to separate themselves from such operations, it’s tough to tell the difference” (Colliver). Even if the government imposes strict limitations on pharmaceutical prices, the shift that has already occurred in customer attitudes will require time to be reversed. The problem is not in imported drugs; given the growing globalization trends, imported drugs will keep conquering larger shares of pharmaceutical markets.
The problem is that for customers to purchase imported products is a matter of “no other choice”. Many of them are no longer willing to return to conventional medical practices. As a result, and taking into account that online businesses will further work to conquer the minds and spirits of the American customers, the state should develop effective monitoring systems that will impose price restrictions and will control imported drugs sold online, to provide customers with a reasonable choice and to give them another chance for recovery. Conclusion
Imported drugs and Internet have produced an irreversible change in customer attitudes toward healthcare. Beyond broader access to imported medical products, customers are given an opportunity to reduce their costs and to purchase medical products in fast and convenient manner. Given the threats which imported non-licensed products may produce on human health, and taking into account the growing customer commitment to purchasing imported medicines online, it is the state’s responsibility to develop effective regulatory and monitoring strategies that will not limit customer choice but will guarantee safety of all imported medical products.