A pharmaceutical company is using a website to sell prescription drugs online and says it will eventually sell its drugs there.

In its bid to capture the online business, which is estimated to be worth $3bn this year, Pfizer (PFE) has launched its online pharmacy (OMP), a portal that allows patients to buy generic, branded and specialty drugs from its generic pharmacies and doctors.

The new pharmacy is expected to be in place by late next year, said a Pfizer spokesman, who did not want to be named.

Pfizer has previously said that it plans to build a pharmacy in China, India and the UK, as well as in a pilot in Vietnam and Brazil.

The drug giant says that it is the only pharma company with a global online pharmacy, and that its OMP will enable the company to deliver a variety of medicines to more than 1.2 million patients.

It also said that, by 2020, it will have an online pharmacy in every country in the world.

“We have seen this as a game changer in the pharmacy market and have the potential to drive the overall pharmacy market to $4.7bn by 2020,” Pfizer said in a statement.

The OMP has two main functions: it enables patients to pay online, and it enables pharmacies to sell their drugs to customers.

The pharmacy portal will allow patients to order generic, brand-name or specialty drugs at any time, and will also allow them to buy from Pfizer pharmacies around the world and at pharmacies that are not on its own OMP network.

Pfizer is expected pay $200 for an order to buy a medicine, the same price that would normally be charged to patients.

Pfizers chief executive Michael Pfizer, a physician, said that online pharmacies have helped drive the pharmaceutical industry to record sales.

“The Omp portal has allowed us to be at the forefront of a global, sustainable, and scalable pharma business model that has brought great benefits to the patients,” he said.

“I think it’s a great example of how the pharmacy business is about connecting people to the medicine, and I believe it will continue to grow as more patients use our OMP portal,” he added.

There have been more than 2.5m prescriptions filled through the OMP, according to Pfizer.

In the past few years, the pharmaceutical company has started offering more generic versions of its drugs, including an asthma drug, which has been used to treat a wide range of conditions including asthma, allergies, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis.

The company is also planning to roll out an asthma and diabetes drug called OTC-1 in the coming months. 

The OMT will be open to consumers worldwide and can be accessed by visiting the Pfizer website, www.pfizer.com/otc1.