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Ethical conduct ensuring privacy and confidentiality of the patient is one of the cornerstones of medical practice. Selling drugs over the Internet obviously necessitates the collection and use of confidential medical information. In an anarchic world over the Internet, nobody can be sure of what happens to this information. Moreover, the security of electronic transactions is difficult to assess. Electronic environments inevitably carry significant non-zero probabilities of large information losses once a security breach has occurred. Cases of Cyber-pharmacies not keeping privacy and confidentiality promises have also been reported. Other issues like Trust have also been raised. Studies reveal that trust in drug information from traditional media sources such as television and newspapers transfers to the domain of the Internet, leading to utilization of the Internet for information search after exposure to prescription drug advertising.

Bernall J. BIG BROTHER IS ON-LINE: Public and Private Security in the Internet Cybersociology 06 Aug. 1999 also available online at:

Cushman R. Serious Technology Assessment for Health Care Information TechnologyJ Am Med Inform Assoc. 1997 July; 4 (4): 259-265 [Free Full Text at PubMedCentral]

Online Pharmacies Settle FTC Charges

Menon AM, Deshpande AD, Perri M 3rd, Zinkhan GM. Trust in online prescription drug information among internet users: the impact on information search behavior after exposure to direct-to-consumer advertising.Health Mark Q 2002;20(1):17-35

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