The immediate effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the popularity of online pharmacies was an obvious one. Very quickly, as businesses began to shut up shop across towns and cities, the utility of ordering drugs and having prescriptions filled remotely was obvious. The use of online pharmacies spiked, following the trend towards greater use of e-commerce in general. Canadian online pharmacies in particular, which have been doing a booming trade both north and south of border for some time, saw their businesses grow in the first few months of the pandemic. A boost that has been largely sustained.
The movement towards greater use of e-commerce sites is a Covid trend that has been attested first by companies such as USPS and Canada Post, who reported a major upsurge in home delivery during the pandemic. Regarding the use of online pharmacies like Canada Pharmacy, however, the effect of Covid on business was and remains somewhat more complicated than a simple case of people being more willing to order online because the pandemic restricts them to their homes.
For one thing, it should not be forgotten that Covid is a health crisis and online pharmacies are public health companies. A health crisis might appear, to somewhat cynical eyes, to be nothing but good news for online pharmacies, but this is not necessarily the case. The Covid pandemic is truly global in scale and has seen mass mobilization of health resources of an order pretty much unheard of before. This led many to see Canadian online pharmacies in a new light.
The American Connection
One of the primary roles of Canadian pharmacies, both during and before the pandemic, has been the filling of American prescriptions. It is no secret that the massive savings that Americans – both individuals and private/state organizations – can make in getting their medications from Canada has led to a steady increase in the importation of Canadian drugs, and this is a market boom that has been ongoing for nearly two decades.
The effect of Covid on this has been stark. In the initial months of the pandemic, the strain on health services and the restriction of physical movement meant that not only the extortionate prescription prices, but a reduction in simple healthcare availability, has led to more people turning to online pharmacies – most often Canadian ones.
As the pandemic has progressed, these restrictions have eased, but they are far from gone and it is unlikely that they will be completely removed in the near future. We could therefore see a phenomenon of “come for the convenience, stay for the prices,” which could have a lasting effect on the American use of Canadian online pharmacies.
A New Respect for the Global Market
Another effect of Covid pandemic has been the scramble to produce a vaccine. Recently, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that there are now enough vaccines in Canada to inoculate the entire eligible population. This was welcome news, but it was the conclusion of a long and complicated tale in which many hard lessons about Canada’s place in the global pharmaceutical industry were learned.
Trudeau’s government initially tried to develop a vaccine domestically and reached out to secure a contract with a host of Canadian pharmaceutical companies who had previously been given the cold shoulder. The domestic vaccine was a failure and Canada ended up importing its vaccines. This episode served as a reminder of how much Canada, or indeed any country, relies upon the global pharmaceutical trade. In turn this led to a greater appreciation of the role of international trade in Canadian online pharmacies as well.