No prescription needed: Use of trust-garnering features by illegal online pharmacies.
The Internet pharmacy industry is growing, with illegal pharmacies—those offering drugs without a prior prescription—far outnumbering the legal ones. In the past, consumers might have been deterred from using these unregulated pharmacies by their unprofessional appearance; now their designs improved to boost perceived credibility. This study examines the use of trust-garnering features by 10 illegal Internet pharmacies and compares these sites to those of 10 pharmacies certified by the NABP. The illegal websites scored as well as the legal sites on 5/7 variables. The results indicate that, based on design, Internet users might be apt to trust the unregulated Internet pharmacies as much as their regulated counterparts. Therefore, consumers should be counseled not on purchasing from sites with certain indicators of credibility, but rather only from Internet pharmacies that require a prior prescription, as this may be the only obvious characteristic that differentiates the safe from the unsafe.
School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:health healthcare internet pharmacy drugs content
Date of Publication:04/07/2008