Classification, location and legitimacy of web-based suppliers of Viagra to the UK
Gallagher, C. T.
Objectives- To categorise online suppliers of Viagra based on their legal status, and to quantify the suppliers within each category. Methods- Google was used to search for websites offering to sell or supply either proprietary Viagra tablets or generic versions containing sildenafil citrate. Relevant websites were classified as falling into one of three categories, which were further subclassified. Simple descriptive statistics were calculated. Key findings- The number of relevant sites found within the first 100 Google hits, following the removal of mirror and affiliate sites, was 44. Only 6.8% of sites identified were legitimate online pharmacies. Some 34.1% of sites offered to sell Viagra to patients in the UK without any form of medical consultation. Whether or not the online consultation offered by 59.1% of sites had to be completed in order to make a purchase could not be confirmed. The location of only three pharmacies could be ascertained; the remainder made various claims as to their location, which could not be verified. Conclusions- We have been unable to verify that the questionnaires used for online consultations are scrutinised by any healthcare practitioners to determine the appropriateness of the treatment sought. This represents a serious safety concern for UK residents who procure drugs for erectile dysfunction on the internet.