Friday, November 14, 2008

Has the time come for decent online pharmacies?

Like junk mail and cold calling, spamming works on the 'there's one born every minute' theory of marketing. US researchers have finally put a number on this - apparently spammers get about one response for every 12,500,000 emails they spam out. It's a pathetic return - a lot less than the 2% return on junk mail - but if you spew enough spam, there's still money in it. And who cares if the so-called health product you're selling is made of blue paint and pesticides.

But the real number of online punters is far higher than this. New research from Pfizer, the drug company who make Viagra, suggests that one man in ten has bought prescription drugs online without a prescription. Obviously Pfizer have their own agenda - patents expire in 2011–2013 and they want to maximise their return - and the sample was small (less than 1000) but all the same this backs up our findings on malehealth.

Our survey earlier this year suggested that three out of every five men would consider buying drugs online without a prescription in the right circumstances. The trouble is at the moment they're likely to be buying junk - two out of three online pharma products are counterfeit. Given this potential demand, perhaps rather than telling men not to buy online we should be creating the environment to enable them to do it safely. What do you think?

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