Analysis of the marketing and claims of online pharmacies: a focus on administrative, regulatory and content criteria

Natalie Mcfadyen Weir, University strath

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Introduction: Online pharmacies use a range of marketing claims and pricing strategies. Many claims may target concerns the public may have when it comes to utilising online pharmacies. The aim of this study was to identify online pharmacy websites and conduct a content analysis of their homepages. This included a focus on administrative, regulatory, and advertising content, and explored the claims and strategies adopted.
Methods: Searches were carried out using the UK Google search engine with the first fifty websites being selected. Homepages were assessed against a predefined expected administrative, regulatory, and content criterion. Thereafter claims and marketing strategies were explored, along with assessing the content found on the homepages.
Results: Of the 50 websites, almost all online pharmacy prominently displayed their registration with a UK regulatory body on their homepage. Strategic marketing included their free delivery options, promoting the sale of multiple medicines at a reduced price, ability to bypass the GP, and the targeting of specific medical conditions (e.g. erectile dysfunction), particularly towards the male population.
Conclusion: Findings of this study display similar results to studies conducted on internet pharmacy practice and effects on consumers, particularly considering their proposed benefits such as ease of delivery and reduced pricing. However, in this study regulatory data was easily identified, which is contrary to previous research. Our findings suggest specific conditions and populations may be targeted by online pharmacies, and patient education on the regulation, marketing and pricing strategies of online pharmacies are important and essential to protect patients online.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2023
EventNordic Social Pharmacy Conference 2023 - The Arctic University of Norway, Norway
Duration: 7 Jun 20239 Jun 2023


ConferenceNordic Social Pharmacy Conference 2023


  • online pharmacy
  • ePrescriptions
  • mail-order medication


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