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Author: Nunnelley, Michael
Citation: PHARMACY.COM (2002 Third Year Paper)
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Abstract: The Internet takes the purchase of prescription drugs from the local pharmacy to the Internet superstore across the nation or around the world. It is expected that the market for Internet pharmacies will grow from a virtual nonexistence a few years ago to a market force within just a few years. Estimates vary broadly, with credible sources putting the Internet prescription market conservatively at USD 1.7 billion industry by 2003 and more ambitiously at USD 15 billion by 2004. Cyber-pharmacies have emerged as part of a general increase in reliance on the Internet for health information and treatment, their numbers growing in 1999 alone from only a handful as the year started to over 400 before it ended. The intense regulation of this industry creates unique problems in this transition. Clearly, the potential for abuses and fraud in this area, as well as for potential health complications, gives good cause for concern. As a result, there have been increasing questions raised about the safety of these new pharmacies and calls for numerous types of regulation of pharmaceutical Internet commerce. Numerous media outlets have described the situation with alarm . This rapid growth has also been viewed with alarm by actors within the industry. The majority of industry leaders agree that Internet pharmacy brings potential value to the consumer and justifies its place in the market. The economies of scale and efficiency of more advance delivery systems bring down costs to consumers in an industry wrought with inflation. Internet channels of prescription drug information and delivery offer consumers more control over their buying options through education and flexibility.
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