News Releases

Canadians Demand Regulation of Online Pharmacies

New study reveals Canadian consumer perceptions and behaviors toward online pharmacies


November 14, 2018 – A new consumer study released today by the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global) found that the majority (64%) of Canadian citizens think they should have the option to purchase their prescription medication online.

Conducted to better understand Canadians’ awareness, knowledge, attitudes and motivations toward purchasing pharmaceuticals online, the study revealed that a majority of Canadians believe the pharmaceutical and pharmacy industries (87 percent) should play a key role in ensuring patient safety online and that government (80 percent) should regulate the sale of prescription medication online.

“The study’s findings profile the consumer’s expectations that online pharmacy services must be accountable to ensure safe practices. The importance of public awareness, education and enforcement to protect Canadians’ safety is clearly evident,” Dr. Anne Snowdon, Chair of the World Health Innovation Network (WIN).

Convenience and lower prices are the perceived benefits of online pharmacies while receiving wrong or counterfeit medicines are the biggest concerns. Millennials were more than twice as likely as other age categories to consider ordering from an online pharmacy. While only one percent of Canadians have purchased prescriptions online in the past, one in six respondents say they are at least somewhat likely to make their next prescription purchase online. This anticipated upward trend in online purchasing provides an opportunity for Canada’s pharmacy community, regulators and public safety experts to prepare now.

“These findings are a call to arms for government and industry,” said Libby Baney, principal at Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting who advises ASOP Global. “Canada has one of the world’s safest and most trusted drug supply chains. To keep it safe – and keep fake drugs out of Canadian medicine cabinets – we need stakeholders to act now to better protect patients from illegal online drug sellers.”

The study was conducted by Innovative Research Group in consultation with Dr. Snowdon. Citizens across Canada were surveyed by phone and online. The results of the 2018 Canadian consumer survey were released at the ASOP Global Research Symposium “Spotlight on Illegal Online Sales of Medicine” hosted by the ASOP Global Foundation in Washington, D.C. The symposium is bringing together industry experts, academics and government regulators to combat the rise of fake online drug sales.



The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP Global), a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. with activities in U.S., Canada, Europe, India, Latin America and Asia, is dedicated to protecting consumers around the world, ensuring safe access to medications, and combating illegal online drug sellers



The World Health Innovation Network (WIN) is based at the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor. WIN brokers partnerships between key stakeholders to source, embed and scale innovations in health systems. WIN develops the evidence of impact and scalability across health systems and disseminates this information to accelerate health system transformation, drive economic growth and improve patient outcomes.