A quarter of online shoppers have bought, or would in principle buy prescription drugs online, according to research conducted by Webcredible.
According to the consultancy, the findings are worrying as though not illegal under certain circumstances, more consumers are taking the opportunity to buy prescription drugs in an unregulated environment.
The research also revealed that people would be more inclined to buy drugs on the internet than they would to buy cars, garden sheds and wallpaper.
The surge in online purchasing of drugs comes despite fears that consumers could be receiving products that are fake as the trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals booms. A Datamonitor report published in December says that counterfeit medicines are a global problem costing patient's their health and the pharmaceutical industry and governmental organisations millions of dollars per year.
More than 1,200 online consumers were polled on the likelihood of them buying 10 different types of products online. Books (84%) and clothes (63%) were revealed as the items consumers would most likely buy online, while pets (7%) and diamond rings (11%) proved the least popular choices.
Trenton Moss, Webcredible director, said: "The fact that more consumers seem to be prepared to buy prescription drugs online than simple DIY items like wallpaper and garden sheds is a worrying finding and pharmaceutical organisations must use the internet to advise consumers on the dangers of this.
"For companies dealing in products like books and clothes it is crucial that they capitalise on the consumer's willingness to purchase online, by making their site as visible and usable as possible to maximise sales ahead of their competitors."
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