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UK Public Unaware Online Pharmacies Aren’t All Regulated To The Same Extent

Over half of the UK are unaware that not all UK online pharmacies are regulated to the same extent, according to research led by The Independent Pharmacy.

An online survey of 2,003 UK Adults aged 18+ was conducted by independent researchers, Atomik Research, on behalf of The Independent Pharmacy. The research fieldwork took place between 21-22 January 2019.

The survey sought to uncover the public’s knowledge of online pharmacies and the medicines they sell, following Panorama’s expose of the three types of online pharmacies – CQC-registered, non-CQC registered and illegitimate medicine sites.

Key findings include:

 

Buying medicine online

  • Over a fifth (22%) of respondents would consider buying medicine online because it’s too difficult to get an appointment with their GP.
  • 1 out of 10 respondents would consider buying medicine online because they are too embarrassed to discuss the issue with their GP.
  • 14% of men admitted to feeling too embarrassed to discuss the issue with their GP, compared to 7% of women (as a reason to consider buying medicine online).
  • Picked by over a third (34%) of respondents, embarrassment was the top motivator for people aged 25-34 to consider buying medicine online.
  • An average of 62% of under-45s would consider buying medicine online, compared to 30% of over-45s.

 

UK online pharmacy regulations/prescriptions

  • Over half (52%) of respondents were unaware that not all UK online pharmacies are regulated to the same extent.
  • 91% think that online pharmacies that prescribe medicine should follow the same regulations as their GP.
  • People aged 25-34 were most likely to say that they were aware that not all UK online pharmacies are regulated to the same extent (73%).

 

Legitimacy of online pharmacies

  • 83% of respondents don’t know how to check if a medicine they purchased online is legitimate.
  • Respondents aged 25-34 were most likely to be aware of how to check whether a site (54%) and the medicine on sale there (53%) is safe and legitimate.
  • 66% of respondents living in the East Midlands said that they would not consider buying medicine online (compared to the national average of 58%).
  • Respondents living in London were most likely to say that they’re aware that not all UK online pharmacies are regulated to the same extent (69%).

 

Raw survey results

Demographics Q1: What is your gender?

 

Total2,003100%
Male 987 49%
Female 1,014 51%
Non-binary 2 0%

 

Demographics Q2: Which of the following categories best describes your age?

 

Total2,003100%
18-24 145 7%
25-34 202 10%
35-44 341 17%
45-54 403 20%
55-64 477 24%
65+ 435 22%

 

Demographics Q3: What region do you live in?

 

Total2,003100%
East Midlands 158 8%
East/East Anglia 145 7%
London 279 14%
North East 117 6%
North West 232 12%
Northern Ireland 30 1%
Scotland 152 8%
South East 256 13%
South West 188 9%
Wales 82 4%
West Midlands 201 10%
Yorkshire and the Humber 163 8%

 

Demographics Q4: From the list below - please select which city is closest to your residence

 

Total2,003100%
London 492 25%
Birmingham 150 7%
Leeds 85 4%
Oxford 58 3%
Norwich 73 4%
Glasgow 65 3%
Sheffield 77 4%
Newcastle 84 4%
Edinburgh 62 3%
Liverpool 85 4%
Manchester 167 8%
Bristol 147 7%
Cardiff 64 3%
Coventry 52 3%
Nottingham 124 6%
Belfast 29 1%
Aberdeen 34 2%
Southampton 104 5%
York 51 3%

 

Survey Q1: Why would you consider buying medicine online?

 

Total2,003100%
I'm too embarrassed to discuss the issue with my GP 209 10%
It's difficult to get an appointment with my GP 437 22%
I can't travel to my GP 81 4%
Other 121 6%
I wouldn't buy medicine online 1,155 58%

 

Survey Q2: Are you aware that not all UK online pharmacies are regulated to the same extent?

 

Total2,003100%
Yes 957 48%
No 1,046 52%

 

Survey Q3: Do you think that UK online pharmacies that prescribe medicine should follow the same regulations as your GP?

Total2,003100%
Yes 1,827 91%
No 176 9%

 

Survey Q4: Do you know how to check whether a site selling medicine is safe and legitimate?

 

Total2,003100%
Yes 345 17%
No 1,658 83%

 

Survey Q5: Do you know how to check if a medicine you purchased online is legitimate?

 

Total2,003100%
Yes 334 17%
No 1,669 83%

 

Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides MRS code.

 

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