AWARENESS AND BEHAVIOURAL OUTLOOK TOWARDS ONLINE PHARMACY SERVICES AMONG CONSUMERS IN DELHI, INDIA: A PILOT SURVEY
Ravinder K. Sah, Rakhamaji D. Chandane ?, Umesh Suranagi, Sachin Manocha, Ajita Kapur and Priyanka Hotha
Background: Online pharmacies providing an easy opportunity to purchase large variety of medicines. These offer various advantages like lower costs, easy accessibility, doorstep delivery etc. Online pharmacies also carry with them disadvantages like lack of interaction with physician, dispensing of drugs without prescriptions, selling of substandard medicines etc. There is lack of study about consumer‘s awareness regarding online pharmacy in India. Hence study was planned to assess consumer‘s awareness and behaviour towards the use of online pharmacy services in the Delhi, India. Material and methods: Cross sectional, questionnaire based study was conducted to assess consumer‘s awareness and behaviour towards the use of online pharmacy services. Results: In this study although 85.8% of respondents were aware about online pharmacy but only 6% of them purchased medicine through it. Uncertainty about timely delivery of medicines and supply of counterfeit medicines were the major apprehensions regarding online pharmacies among 85% and 75% of participants respectively. Factors likes dispensing drugs without requirement of any prescription (91%) and illegal website (57%) were marked as a characteristic of doubtful online pharmacies. Features like doorstep delivery and reminder services were claimed as desirable features of online pharmacies by 68% and 60.8% of participants respectively. Conclusion: Purchasing medicines from online pharmacies was not a common practice among the respondents. Consumers need to be educated about the risks and benefits associated with buying drugs on the internet. Educational measures should be coupled with adequate monitoring of online pharmacies from regulatory authorities.
Keywords: Online Pharmacy, Consumers, Awareness, Behaviour.
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