Awareness and Perception of Online Pharmacy among the General Population and the Pharmacists in Indore City of Madhya Pradesh: A Cross-Sectional Study
Background: Online pharmacy is very important technology’s innovation, fulfilling unmet medical needs of general population with the help of internet services through mobile and a web-based application. Hence, this study tries to find out awareness and perception of online pharmacy among the general population and the pharmacists due to increase trend of internet use. Objectives: This study aimed to assess awareness and perception of online pharmacy among the general population and the pharmacists in Indore city of Madhya Pradesh. Materials and Methods: The present study was a cross-sectional study, conducted in 200 study subjects (150 general population and 50 pharmacists) selected using sequential sampling method in Indore city, for 4 months duration. Informed consent in written was taken from the study subjects. The study tool was pre-designed semi-structured questionnaire. Data entry was done in Excel sheet and analyzed using SPSS software. Results: In the present study, out of 200 subjects, 150 were general population and 50 were pharmacists. Out of 150 general population, majority were male between age 18 and 30 years, while majority 60% of pharmacists were from between 41 and 50 years. About 65.3% of population were aware of online pharmacy, while majority of them 55% came to know about it through internet but in our study subjects, level of utilization of online pharmacy was very low (12%) as majority 40% of them had trust issues on it so preferred traditional offline pharmacies. Out of 50 pharmacists, in the current study, only 42% of pharmacists were providing online services while rest 58% of them were offline pharmacists, out of which only 12% were interested in collaboration with online pharmacies. Majority 90% were against the online pharmacy as it was affecting their offline retail pharmacy business. According to 56% of offline pharmacists, reason of non-collaboration with online pharmacies was economic issues. Conclusion: The results of the current study concluded that there were a knowledge deficit with regard to online pharmacy and hence purchasing medicines from online pharmacies were not a common practice in this current study sample. However, it does not necessarily mean that there are no intentions to use such services in future as users, held positive perception of online pharmacies. All the pharmacists were aware about online pharmacy and almost all were against the idea of online pharmacy as their retail business was affected due to decrease in profit margin. The choice of an online pharmacy by the general population and pharmacists was mainly influenced by convenience.
Key words: Information education and communication, electronic-health, Diploma in Pharmacy, Bachelor of Pharmacy, Master of Pharmacy
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