The prescription medication market is enormous and includes millions of Americans who go online to get information about the medicines they consume.
According to the new Pew Internet & American Life Project “Prescription Drugs Online” report, 64% of American households contain a regular user of prescription drugs, and one in four Americans (26%) has used the Internet to look for information about prescription drugs.
However, just 4% of Americans have purchased prescription drugs online, because, simply, most Americans do not fully trust the online prescription drug marketplace.
While 62% of Americans think purchasing prescription drugs online is less safe than purchasing them at a local pharmacy, only 20% think online purchases are as safe as local purchases. The remaining 18% responded that they did not know or that it depends on the situation.
Studies show people purchase drugs online, even though the sample size was small, Americans who have ordered prescription drugs online cited convenience and cost savings as the main reasons why they decided to take the leap. Privacy was the least likely factor of the choices offered in the survey.
When asked about the last time they purchased prescriptions online, the majority of Rx purchasers said they visited a site that was based in the United States, and only a few visited a site based in another country. In addition:
— Three-quarters of Rx purchasers said the last time they purchased drugs online, they bought a drug for a chronic medical condition such as high blood pressure or arthritis.
— One-quarter said their last purchase at an online pharmacy was to aid weight loss or sexual performance.
— Most were satisfied with their last contact with an online pharmacy and plan to order medication drugs online in the future.
The trend for medication purchases online does show promise, however it will take time for realistic numbers to show actual results.
Drawing an analogy to the growth in another large online category, the report stated online researchers who research a product online often become customers.
The conclusion does draw evidence that convenience is the major factor motivating online purchases of medication.
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