Online health is becoming big business, and it's likely to explode over the next few years. Jupiter Communications reports online health sector sales should soar from $200 million in 1999 to $11 billion by 2004.
At the same time, a Jupiter study indicated that 49 percent of respondents do not buy online because it's easier to buy pharmaceuticals at the local drugstore while doing other errands. This explains why sites offering traditional products have been floundering.
The start-up solution: providing health-care items you can't usually find in your local brick-and-mortar store. Selfcare.com in Emeryville, California, for example, attracts health customers with special needs to the Web by offering alternative and traditional health and wellness products for allergies, weight management and chronic pain. Anyone can go to the local drugstore and pick up some aspirin, but where in the world are you going to find a soy-milk-maker or a magnetic beauty mask?