A new survey conducted in the United States has found over 70 per cent of Amazon customers would buy prescription drugs though the online retailer’s website if they were on offer.
In the survey, conducted by Deutsche Bank, young people were the most likely to express interest in buying their prescription medication through Amazon, however surprisingly, over half of those respondents aged 65 and over said they would also buy online.
Matthew Bellgrove from National Custom Compounding said this was a worrying statistic and he hoped the views of the Australian public would be different.
“When you buy online you just can’t be sure what you’re getting – especially from an overseas company that isn’t regulated by Australia’s strict drug agencies,” Matthew said, “You have no guarantee of quality, or if you’re even getting what’s been promised.”
“When you buy online there’s no checks and balances as there are with your local pharmacy, and there’s no opportunity to discuss, with a professional, whether the medication is the right one for you.”
Not surprisingly, ‘lower cost’ was nominated by survey participants as the main reason why they would buy through Amazon.
Matthew said he expected Australian audiences would not be as easily convinced to jeopardise their health and their U.S. counterparts, who are subjected to sky-high medication costs.
“Fortunately in Australia, thanks to our health care system, the cost of most medications is not prohibitive, as is often the case in the U.S.,” Matthew said, “Australian’s would be less likely, I would think, to dice with their health for the sake of saving a few dollars, when our medication is already affordable.”
“It’s just not worth it.”
Amazon bought out an online pharmacy, PillPack, in June of this year, signalling that a move into the online retail medication sector was on the cards.
In response to the survey results, analyst at Deutsche Bank, Loyd Walmsle, wrote, “We believe it is a question of when and where – and not if – Amazon enters the healthcare space more forcefully.”