Frequency and attitudes of purchasing medications online in the Visegrad Countries Europe after the pandemic - 2022 survey data
Evidently, the e-pharmacy market has been accelerated by the pandemic and has made pharmacy e-commerce integral to healthcare delivery, as commerce and healthcare has shifted to the digital environment. Therefore, the aim of provided research was to assess the frequency and attitudes of patients purchasing medications online before and after the COVID-19 pandemic in the Visegrad Group countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) following a similar path regarding the regulatory environment of internet pharmacies and distant sale of pharmaceuticals. An online descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in four central European countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) representing 12.5% of EU-28, to measure the prevalence and attitudes towards purchasing medications and health products from the internet, further, to evaluate the change of such purchases before and after the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in March 2020. These countries have similar indicators regarding socio-demographic characteristics, economic and cultural background. Respondents were approached via the most popular social media platforms in the region (Facebook and Instagram) with the questionnaire formatted into the Google forms, further, surveyed through the Pollfish survey research platform between May and August 2022. The 25-item questionnaire included single choice and 5-point Likert scale answers. It consisted of an introductory paragraph on the purpose of the survey, information on confidentiality, and anonymity followed by four main sections: Questions related to drug procurement (n=3); Attitudes towards online drug purchases (n=4); Internet usage habits including medicines and health product purchases (n=13); Sociodemographic data (n=5). The first section is preceded by four screening questions to increase consciousness regarding the attributes of medicines for participants to be able to differentiate medicines from health products (e.g., dietary supplements or herbals) in the later sections of the survey. Participation was voluntarily and anonymous. We have not directly collected data on health status, however, respondents had to select if they were taking medications for chronic conditions and they had the opportunity to name the products purchased online and the website they have used for the purchase.
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Respondents were approached via the most popular social media platforms in the region (Facebook and Instagram) with the questionnaire formatted into the Google forms, further, surveyed through the Pollfish survey research platform. The 25-item questionnaire included single choice and 5-point Likert scale answers.