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Journal Article


Alwhaibi M, Asser WM, Al Aloola NA, Alsalem N, Almomen A, Alhawassi TM. Saudi Pharm. J. 2021; 29(2): 166-172.


(Copyright © 2021, King Saud University, Saudi Pharmaceutical Society, Publisher Elsevier Publishing)






OBJECTIVES: Purchasing medicinal products from the internet has become more popular in the last three decades. Understanding consumers' use and perception of the safety of medicinal products obtained online is essential. Therefore, this study aims to evaluate the extent of medicines purchased from the internet in Saudi Arabia, types of products, sources of information, the satisfaction, the motivational factors, and estimate consumers' vigilance and tendency to report ADRs if occurred.

DESIGN: A prospective cross-sectional study using a custom-designed questionnaire was conducted among community adults in Saudi Arabia, age ≥ 18. SETTING: Evaluation of community subjects' perception towards buying medicinal products was done through the internet in Saudi Arabia from 1st July 2020 until the end of August 2020. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcome of the study was purchasing medicinal products from the internet (Yes, No).

RESULTS: Overall, 36% of the study participants (n = 643) have ever bought medicinal products from the internet (Table 2). Of those, the most obtained was herbal medicine, supplements, or cosmetics (61.3%). Motivational factors towards purchasing medicinal products from the internet were mostly positive, with the most commonly reported agreed motivational factors were lower cost (55.7%), easy online access (54.1%), a wide variety of products (52.6%), and more privacy (43.6%). Around 60.4% of participants believed that buying medicinal products from the internet can be safe. The most perceived risk was the difficulty of distinguishing between registered online pharmacies and other unlicensed commercial websites, with only 32.7% of the participants distinguishing between registered and unlicensed commercial websites.

CONCLUSIONS: This study sheds light on the consumers' use and perception of the safety and risks of medicinal products purchased from the internet. The study findings noticeably describe the great need to increase safety awareness about obtaining medicinal products from the internet among the Saudi community.

Language: en


Perception; Safety; Vigilance; ADRs; Medicinal products


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