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Few American bought prescription drugs via the Internet

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WASHINGTON Few American adults have bought prescription drugs via the Internet, despite rising drug costs and increased pressure to import cheaper drugs from abroad, according to a new study released yesterday.

Four percent out of 2,200 U.S. patients surveyed said they purchased their medicines online, and nearly all of them said they would do so again in the future, the study showed.

The Pew Internet Project found that most of those who bought drugs over the Internet about 75 percent said they used them to treat a chronic condition, including arthritis and high blood pressure.

The rest, about 25 percent, said they bought drugs to help lose weight, improve sexual performance or some other purpose, according to the independent think tank's study.

About 63 percent of all Internet users surveyed said they received spam e-mail for sex-related drugs like Viagra, while 55 percent said they received spam for other prescription medicines.

The telephone survey, conducted in May and June, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 to 3 percent. The Pew Charitable Trusts funded the survey.

About 26 percent of Americans used the Internet to research information about prescription drugs, but most respondents said they did "not fully trust" the online marketplace.

More then 60 percent said they thought drugs bought via the Internet were not as safe as those purchased from a local drugstore, while 20 percent said they were equally safe.


Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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