Cyberdrugs: a cross-sectional study of online pharmacies characteristics

Orizio, Grazia ; Schulz, Peter ; Domenighini, Serena ; Caimi, Luigi ; Rosati, Cristina ; Rubinelli, Sara ; Gelatti, Umberto

In: The European Journal of Public Health, 2009, vol. 19, no. 4, p. 375-377

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    As e-commerce and online pharmacies (OPs) arose, the potential impact of the Internet on the world of health shifted from merely the spread of information to a real opportunity to acquire health services directly. Aim of the study was to investigate the offer of prescription drugs in OPs, analysing their characteristics, using the content analysis method. The research performed using the Google search engine led to an analysis of 118 online pharmacies. Only 51 (43.2%) of them stated their precise location. Ninety-six (81.4%) online pharmacies did not require a medical prescription from the customer's physician. Online pharmacies rise complex issues in terms of patient-doctor relationship, consumer empowerment, drug quality, regulation and public health implications