The Internet, Confidentiality, and the Pharmacy.coms

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 10 (2):157-160 (2001)
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Abstract

The advent of the Internet has had a significant impact on the formation of an information-driven, rapid-paced society. The number of Internet users reached 50 million in only five years compared to 13 years for television and 38 years for radio. Consumer expectation for access, convenience, and speed has made the cyberspace superhighway a medium for knowledge exchange and for e-commerce. The Internet offers a wide variety of health services and products to healthcare professionals as well as to the public. Online pharmaceutical sales are predicted to reach $20–25 billion over the next four years. This is a dramatic increase when compared to the $1.9 billion in 1999. At the click of the mouse, medications can be ordered and delivered conveniently to your door. Yet, consumer discomfort with the security of information provided via the Internet is growing, and recent incidents involving disclosure of healthcare information serve to heighten this concern

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