Shoppers are more likely to buy prescription drugs than wallpaper when shopping online, a survey has found.
A staggering 25% of online shoppers said they have bought or would buy prescription drugs from off the internet, according to a survey carried out by user experience consultancy Webcredible.

The poll further revealed the shoppers were also more likely to buy drugs online than they were to buy wallpaper, cars, garden sheds, pets or even diamond rings.

The results are cause for concern when counterfeit drugs and fake online pharmacies are booming. The dangers of the $40 billion black market were highlighted in Christmas 2006 when a Canadian woman died after taking fake drugs purchased off the internet. Her liver contained 15 times the normal concentration of aluminium.

According to Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, more than two-million Britons purchase drugs off the internet. “That 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,” Webcredible director Trenton Moss said.

In April, the US Senate passed the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008. The act sought to control internet trafficking of controlled prescription drugs.

Meanwhile, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain has developed a logo to help the public identify rogue internet pharmacies and the MHRA’s Intelligence Unit will monitor the internet for counterfeit drugs and undertake test purchases.

The Webcredible survey polled 1,256 visitors to the website between June and August 2008.