The internet has had various effects on the Pharmacy Industry, or PHARMA. Like other medical settings, paper work is decreased and the system of obtaining drugs is made more transparent, efficient, and faster. We will examine the various areas that Internet Medicine has affected Pharmacies


E-prescribing is the prescribing of medications through wireless means, by the iPad, iPhone, etc.  It is getting more ingrained in the medical industry, and grew by 67% in 2011 amongst physicians (SOURCE).   The actual number of prescriptions e-scribed rose 75% that year, also.   Moreover,  E-prescribing  improves both patient outcomes and healthcare costs.  It does this in one way, by improving the compliancy;  more patients pick up their prescriptions. With paper prescriptions, there is illegible handwriting, and loss of scripts.  In addition, studies are able to be made, since the prescription is put in a nationwide tracking system (Surescripts), which allows a database where all kinds of studies can be performed.  With the paper system, no database is generated.

E-prescribing also gives the physician an electronic connection to the pharmacy, to allow access to the patients drug history, which could also prove useful in cases of suspected diversion, or “doctor-shopping”, but the DEA has a complicated view of E-prescribing controlled substances, so most doctors do not prescribe controlled substances by this method.

The US government is convinced that e-prescribing is the way of the future, since it actually fines the doctor, if a certain number of e-prescribing is not done, though withholding of Medicare re-imbursements.

Pharmacy Apps

The chain drug stores, Walgreens, and CVS, both have free downloadable Apps, which allow patients to arrange directly with the drug store to arrange to refill meds.  The pharmacies also provide the convenient option of notifying the patient when his medication is due for a refill, and if his prescription is ready for pick-up.  The apps even have a feature of a “Pill Reminder”, reminding one when to take the medication, since, as every healthcare providers know, patient very frequently forget to take their medication on time.  For medical apps of Pharmacists go to the page of Pharmacy Apps.

All these Pharmacy App options improve patient compliancy with taking the right medication at the right time, and should, overall, improve outcomes.

Digital Pill Sensor Feedback

Pill Sensor

Ingestible sensor chip for electronically confirming adherence to oral medications. (a) A closer view of a sensor chip; (b) Sensor attached directly to a tablet. (c) Sensor co-encapsulated with a drug product using a sensor-enabled capsule carrier. (Credit: Proteus Digital Health)   (SOURCE)

This technology is relatively new.  A digital, wireless sensor, the size of a grain of sand, is implanted in every pill.   It is FDA approved (August 2012)  and tests compliancy with taking meds.   The ingested sensor can also be used to measure various physicologic data, such as the pulse of the patient, after the sensor is activated by the gastric juices.  The application and use of these ingested sensors remains to be seen, and currently is still in the infancy stage.

Here is a video that shows how the ingested sensor works:

Foreign Pharmacies

Everyone know that medications are much cheaper in Canada, and this industry is flourishing, in spite of the powerful challenges of the Pharma Industry.  It is a difficult area for the government to patrol, and monitor, but many patients have benefited by the lower costs of  various expensive USA medications, including anti-hypertensive, anti-cholestrol meds, and others.

A Wirelessly Controlled Pharmacy Dispenses Drugs From Within Your Abdomen

Implantable Chip The chip is about the size of an average flash memory stick. Courtesy of MicroCHIPS Inc.

These implantable devices slowly release medications into the system of the patient at a certain time, and a certain dose..  Considered to be possibly useful in patients who get daily injections.  Other patient niches should be discovered for a device like this.

Developed at MIT.

“It really depends on how potent the drugs are,” he said. “There are a number of drugs for things like multiple sclerosis, cancer, and some vaccines that would be potent enough.”

Langer and fellow MIT professor Michael Cima developed an early version of an implantable drug-delivery chip in the late 1990s. They co-founded a company called MicroCHIPS Inc., which administered the study being published today in Science Translational Medicine. The team decided to work with osteoporosis patients because the disease, and the drug used to treat it, presented a series of special opportunities, Langer said. A widely used drug called teriparatide can reverse bone loss in people with severe osteoporosis, but it requires a daily injection to work properly. This means up to 75 percent of patients give up on the therapy, Langer said. It’s also a very potent drug that requires microgram doses, making it an ideal candidate for a long-term dispensary implant.  See also this LINK.

E-Scripts for Pharmacists
Walgreens Tries to improve service with online features

Pioneer system, that is ahead of Electronics Medical Records, for communication between the pharmacies and doctors online

Pharma and Healthcare Social Media Websites
Results of Latest Studies at Your Fingertips
How Much Does a Pharmacists Make



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