Online medication purchasing during the Covid-19 pandemic: A pilot study from the United Arab Emirates

Ammar Abdulrahman Jairoun, Sabaa Saleh Al-Hemyari, Naseem Mohammed Abulla, Faris El-Dahiyat, Maimona Jairoun, Saleh Karamah Al-Tamimi, Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number38
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2021

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