Buying medicine is one of the most intimate purchases a consumer can make. With the rise of Amazon, consumers have turned to the platform for an easier and often more affordable experience. However, this strategy also has its risks.
All the over-the-counter (OTC) medicine brands tracked in L2’s Amazon Performance report distribute officially on the platform, but those official products often end up alongside identical listings by third-party merchants. While some third-party vendors actually help brands market their products, many increase the risk of counterfeit, unauthorized, or expired goods that put both brand equity and consumer health at risk. L2’s study reveals that a third of results for OTC brand-related keyword searches came from third-party vendor listings, rather than the brands themselves.
E-commerce startup Capsule claims to balance the convenience of online shopping with the trust required to render a health transaction legitimate. The company, which started in 2015, offers free same-day delivery of prescription medicine and access to its team of pharmacists via text, email, or phone. Its success, however, depends on whether people are willing to text their personal maladies to strangers. Are consumers ready to take that leap?