The emergence of COVID-19 had a massive direct impact on human health in every region and country. The disease itself posed extraordinary challenges to healthcare systems from prevention to testing to treatment. It also exposed broader fragilities in the delivery of the entire range of healthcare services and products. For much of the COVID-19 crisis, primary care resources were overburdened, and many providers were inaccessible to the public due to in-person care challenges. Added to this was government efforts to limit in-person exposures by encouraging social distancing.
These factors have led consumers to turn to self-care to maintain good health, treat the symptoms of COVID-19, and to manage other self-diagnosable and treatable conditions. Moreover, to better manage their own health while seeking to respect social distancing recommendations, they increasingly utilized e-commerce to access self-care solutions such as non-prescription medicines, dietary supplements, vitamins, and simple medical devices and tests designed for home use. On a global level, surveys, increasing number of visits to e-pharmacy sites, and actual sales in 2020 demonstrate an increased interest in self-care, a greater willingness to ask for advice from pharmacists, and a significant growth in e-commerce non-prescription medicine sales that has continued into 2021.