Analysis of the medicine sales on the Internet: the case of the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors

Verano Costa Dutra, Helia Kawa, Luciana Tricai Cavalini


Context: The e-commerce of medications is one of the most recent expressions of irrational drug use, as part of the ";medicalization of the society"; process. Medicines with high marketing appeal, such as the 5-phosphodiesterase inhibitors (5PDEI), represent the extreme cases of this contemporary public health problem. Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze the features of legal and illegal 5PDEI e-commerce websites in Portuguese language, according to the Brazilian medicine marketing regulation benchmark. Methods: Websites containing advertisements of legal and illegal presentations of 5PDEI were searched using the Google™ search engine. Data regarding adherence to the ANVISA recommendations were collected and statistical analysis was performed to compare the variables between legal and illegal presentation advertisements. Results: The study found 497 advertisements, 310 legal and 187 illegal. Both types of sites showed few differences regarding the analyzed variables, as well as low adherence to the ANVISA recommendations. Conclusion: This study shows that the regulation of medicines e-commerce in Brazil is incipient. Thus, beyond the regulation benchmark, more general public health interventions are important and needed.


Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors; Self Medication; Internet

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Journal of Health Informatics - ISSN 2175-4411
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