J. Med. Internet Res. - Dirt cheap and without prescription: how susceptible are young US consumers to purchasing drugs from rogue internet pharmacies?

Tópicos

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Resumo

CKGROUND: Websites of many rogue sellers of medications are accessible through links in email spam messages or via web search engines. This study examined how well students enrolled in a U.S. higher education institution could identify clearly unsafe pharmacies.OBJECTIVE: The aim is to estimate these health consumers vulnerability to fraud by illegitimate Internet pharmacies.METHODS: Two Internet pharmacy websites, created specifically for this study, displayed multiple untrustworthy features modeled after five actual Internet drug sellers which the authors considered to be potentially dangerous to consumers. The websites had none of the safe pharmacy signs and nearly all of the danger signs specified in the Food and Drug Administration s (FDA s) guide to consumers. Participants were told that a neighborhood pharmacy charged US$165 for a one-month supply of Beozine, a bogus drug to ensure no pre-existing knowledge. After checking its price at two Internet pharmacies-$37.99 in pharmacy A and $57.60 in pharmacy B-the respondents were asked to indicate if each seller was a good place to buy the drug. Responses came from 1,914 undergraduate students who completed an online eHealth literacy assessment in 2005-2008. Participation rate was 78%.RESULTS: In response to "On a scale from 0-10, how good is this pharmacy as a place for buying Beozine?" many respondents gave favorable ratings. Specifically, 50% of students who reviewed pharmacy A and 37% of students who reviewed pharmacy B chose a rating above the scale midpoint. When explaining a low drug cost, these raters related it to low operation costs, ad revenue, pressure to lower costs due to comparison shopping, and/or high sales volume. Those who said that pharmacy A or B was "a very bad place" for purchasing the drug (25%), as defined by a score of 1 or less, related low drug cost to lack of regulation, low drug quality, and/or customer information sales. About 16% of students thought that people should be advised to buy cheaper drugs at pharmacies such as these but the majority (62%) suggested that people should be warned against buying drugs from such internet sellers. Over 22% of respondents would recommend pharmacy A to friends and family (10% pharmacy B). One-third of participants supplied online health information to others for decision-making purposes. After controlling for the effects of education, health major, and age, these respondents had significantly worse judgment of Internet pharmacies than those who did not act as information suppliers.CONCLUSIONS: At least a quarter of students, including those in health programs, cannot see multiple signs of danger displayed by rogue Internet pharmacies. Many more are likely to be misled by online sellers that use professional design, veil untrustworthy features, and mimic reputable websites. Online health information consumers would benefit from education initiatives that (1) communicate why it can be dangerous to buy medications online and that (2) develop their information evaluation skills. This study highlights the importance of regulating rogue Internet pharmacies and curbing the danger they pose to consumers.

Resumo Limpo

ckground websit mani rogu seller medic access link email spam messag via web search engin studi examin well student enrol us higher educ institut identifi clear unsaf pharmaciesobject aim estim health consum vulner fraud illegitim internet pharmaciesmethod two internet pharmaci websit creat specif studi display multipl untrustworthi featur model five actual internet drug seller author consid potenti danger consum websit none safe pharmaci sign near danger sign specifi food drug administr s fda s guid consum particip told neighborhood pharmaci charg us onemonth suppli beozin bogus drug ensur preexist knowledg check price two internet pharmaci pharmaci pharmaci bthe respond ask indic seller good place buy drug respons came undergradu student complet onlin ehealth literaci assess particip rate result respons scale good pharmaci place buy beozin mani respond gave favor rate specif student review pharmaci student review pharmaci b chose rate scale midpoint explain low drug cost rater relat low oper cost ad revenu pressur lower cost due comparison shop andor high sale volum said pharmaci b bad place purchas drug defin score less relat low drug cost lack regul low drug qualiti andor custom inform sale student thought peopl advis buy cheaper drug pharmaci major suggest peopl warn buy drug internet seller respond recommend pharmaci friend famili pharmaci b onethird particip suppli onlin health inform other decisionmak purpos control effect educ health major age respond signific wors judgment internet pharmaci act inform suppliersconclus least quarter student includ health program see multipl sign danger display rogu internet pharmaci mani like misl onlin seller use profession design veil untrustworthi featur mimic reput websit onlin health inform consum benefit educ initi communic can danger buy medic onlin develop inform evalu skill studi highlight import regul rogu internet pharmaci curb danger pose consum

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