Online medication purchasing during the Covid-19 pandemic: potential risks to patient safety and the urgent need to develop more rigorous controls for purchasing online medications, a pilot study from the United Arab Emirates

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Abstract

Background: Since the WHO announced that Covid-19 had become a global pandemic, online pharmacies have emerged as an extremely popular way to purchase medication due to the quarantine measures introduced by numerous countries to prevent the virus's spread. Aim: The aim of this study was to collect information regarding the extent of online medication purchasing in the UAE and to assess the factors that motivating the purchase of medications from the internet. Method: A convenience sampling of people living in the UAE was used to conduct an online descriptive cross-sectional study. Respondents were solicited using the social media platforms WhatsApp and Facebook, whereby they were asked to fill in a validated web-based questionnaire. The number of people buying medications from online pharmacies was calculated using a percentage with 95% CIs. Results: 131 respondents (31.2%) [95% CI: 26.7–35.6] stated that they purchased medication via the Internet after Covid-19 was classed as a pandemic. It was found that those respondents most likely to have purchased medication via the Internet were male, single, and older and with a high school education. Conclusion: More research should be conducted to investigate and compare the self-medication and associated risk factors between online pharmacies and community pharmacies. Moreover, regulatory bodies need to make and implement changes to the regulations that govern the sale and use of medications during COVID-19.

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APA

Jairoun, A. A., Al-Hemyari, S. S., Abdulla, N. M., El-Dahiyat, F., Jairoun, M., AL-Tamimi, S. K., & Babar, Z. U. D. (2021). Online medication purchasing during the Covid-19 pandemic: potential risks to patient safety and the urgent need to develop more rigorous controls for purchasing online medications, a pilot study from the United Arab Emirates. Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40545-021-00320-z

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