November 20, 2020

National Polling Finds Uptick in Online Pharmacy Use, Internet-Based Health Care Services

Partner Libby Baney and Faegre Drinker Consulting director Matthew Rubin co-authored an article for The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy titled “National Polling Finds Uptick in Online Pharmacy Use, Internet-Based Health Care Services.” The article explores the findings of a survey aimed at identifying consumer behavior and perception related to online pharmacy use and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the use of the internet to procure health care-related information and services.

The survey, conducted by the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, found that consumers are increasingly going online for health care services. More than 35% of respondents in 2020 had used an online pharmacy to purchase prescription medications for themselves or someone under their care. Dangerously, 71% remain unaware of the risks associated with substandard, falsified or otherwise counterfeit products that have been found to be sold via illegal online pharmacy websites.

The survey also found that almost half (47%) of all online pharmacy users initiated use this year, with 16% of these first-time users reportedly driven online primarily due to the pandemic.

While many internet intermediaries have taken appropriate actions to address the immediate public health and patient safety risks associated with COVID-19 fraud and misinformation, Baney and Rubin acknowledge that there is a consistent need to ensure patients, caregivers and health care providers have access to legitimate, evidence-based information to guide decision-making, online and off.

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