Americans Think Buying Rx Online is Risky Business

Oct 11, 2004

By George Anderson

A San Jose Mercury News article points out that, while Americans are quite comfortable handling a wide variety of transaction online, most view ordering prescriptions
online as risky business.

According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, sixty-two percent of Americans believe buying their medications over the Internet is riskier than going to the local
pharmacy. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed believe it is safe to buy prescriptions online.

While very few Americans purchase prescription medicines online, only four percent, twenty-six percent of those interviewed by Pew said they research medicines online.

Susannah Fox, director of research at Pew Internet told the Mercury News, “At this point there is a lot of anxiety. It’s not clear if it’s anxiety that will go away once
people gain more experience or not. In the beginning, there was a lot of anxiety about banking and purchasing online, but the first time you put your credit card down and nothing
bad happened, you continued to shop online.”

Greg French, a spokesperson for said consumers are wise to be cautious when it comes to buying prescription medicines online. “There are legitimate players out
there but there are a number of rogue players taking advantages of consumers. For that reason, consumers are hesitant to do business over the Internet.”

Moderator’s Comments: Will consumers overcome their skepticism about buying prescription drugs online? What can retailers with online pharmacy programs
do to overcome consumers’ hesitancy to order their meds online?

Greg French sees the Pew Study pointing to the immense market opportunity open to online drugstores. He told the San Jose Mercury News that approximately
50 percent of’s revenues are generated from prescription medicines.

According to the Pew research, consumers who are buying prescription medicines online are primarily motivated by convenience. Online pharmacies that can
overcome consumers’ safety concerns will go a long way in expanding the market.

Mr. French said is one of only 14 online sites filling prescriptions that is certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

George Anderson – Moderator

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