Attrition of Canadian Internet pharmacy websites: what are the implications?
Michael A Veronin,1 Kristen M Clancy2
1Rangel College of Pharmacy, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas, USA; 2Christus Dubuis Health System, Texas, USA
Background: The unavailability of Internet pharmacy websites may impact a consumer's drug purchases and health care.
Objective: To address the issue of attrition, a defined set of Canadian Internet pharmacy websites was examined at three separate time intervals.
Methods: In February to March 2006, 117 distinct, fully functional "Canadian Internet pharmacy" websites were located using the advanced search options of Google and the uniform resource locator (URL) for each website was recorded. To determine website attrition, each of the 117 websites obtained and recorded from the previous study was revisited at two later periods of time within a 4-year period.
Results: After approximately 4 years and 5 months, only 59 (50.4%) sites were found in the original state. Thirty-four sites (29.1%) had moved to a new URL address and were not functioning as the original Internet pharmacy. For 24 sites (20.5%) the viewer was redirected to another Canadian Internet pharmacy site.
Conclusion: Of concern for patients if Internet pharmacy sites were suddenly inaccessible would be the disruption of continuity of care.
Keywords: Canadian Internet pharmacy, online pharmacy, website attrition, continuity of care
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