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Browsing by Subject "webbapotek"

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  • Fant, Alexandra (2020)
    Many pharmacies sell medicines through digital online pharmacy services but studies have shown that only a small fraction of the population are aware of and are using these. There is a need to investigate online pharmacy services and the obstacles they are facing. What should be considered are e.g. the legislation online pharmacies operate under, how the health competency of the population is taken into account in the design of the services, the skills and attitudes of the professionals toward digitalization and distance communication as well as practical circumstances. The aim of this study is to examine the online pharmacy operators' perceptions of the services they provide and how they are organized in Finland and Sweden. How the national regulations that exist regarding online pharmacies, and especially regarding medicine counseling at online pharmacies, are implemented in practice are also examined. The study was targeted to all pharmacy actors in Finland (72) and Sweden (11) who offer online pharmacy services and have reported this to the authorities. Of these, 20 (28 %) responded in Finland and 4 (36 %) in Sweden. The study was designed as a survey consisting of closed/structured- and open-ended questions. The survey questions were developed from previous literature on the subject and a background analysis of the online pharmacies' web pages to ensure the baseline and the relevance of the questions. The survey was available to respondents in digital format and the link was distributed through e-mail in Winter 2020. Data from the closed-ended questions were compiled and analyzed using Microsoft Office Excel, while data from the open-ended questions were analyzed through qualitative content analysis. In Finland, only a small fraction of the total turnover of pharmacies comes from the online pharmacy business. Many believe in an increased importance of online pharmacies when younger age groups begin to use pharmacy services more frequently and technology enables more versatile solutions. In both countries, the main age group using online pharmacies were 36-45 years. The goods that were purchased were mainly cosmetics, skincare and non-prescription drugs. In Sweden, customers suffering of long-term illness were also reported to be a large customer group. As distance communication methods, telephone and e-mail were mostly offered, but in Sweden also chat. About half of the staff had received special communication training for distance communication. Many respondents stated being unaware of the fraction of customers asking for medication counseling and whether this counseling is appreciated. In most cases, the operators stated that the legislation on online pharmacy services was adequate. There are differences in the possibilities of operating online pharmacies in different markets. In Finland, the online pharmacy business's share of pharmacies' total sales is very limited. In Finland there is hope that online pharmacies will become more important to younger customer groups in the future and that the technology is developed to enable more versatile services. Operators in Finland believe that the services should be more beneficial to customers in the future. In both countries an increase in the sale of prescription medication is expected. Online pharmacies have great opportunities to offer customers versatile means of communication for medication counseling, but there is still a need to investigate employees' skills in distance communication. The counseling situation at online pharmacies should be evaluated to ensure equivalency with the one at physical pharmacies.