“Where and how do you buy medicines?” A pilot survey of consumption strategies among the public in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Substandard and falsified (SF) medical products are a major danger to public health. They affect every region of the world, and have been identified in all major therapeutic categories. Studies from medicine, pharmacology, law and public health dominate this research area with a focus on the supply side. However, the spread of SF medical products cannot be fully understood without information about the demand side or a sociocultural perspective on market formation. The aim of this short report is to present findings from a pilot study that examines the attitudes of the Swedish public regarding consumption of medicines.

Methods: We conducted a pilot survey in 2016 “Where and how do you buy medicines?” using LimeSurvey, an open-source online survey software. In total 155 respondents completed the survey.
Results: The majority of respondents turn to doctors within healthcare for prescription-only medicines (POM). Simultaneously, some respondents would consider buying POMs without prior contact with experts even if medicines may come from unsafe sources.

Conclusions: There is a tendency that people move away from formal healthcare towards an unregulated market. In parallel, people's approach to doctors becomes more personalized and pragmatic than in former patriarchal relationships. Risk becomes a negotiable concept.

Keywords: Substandard and falsified medical products, consumption strategies, conception of risk, Swedish public


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ethnology
  • Other Social Sciences


  • Substandard and falsified medical products, consumption strategies, conception of risk, Swedish public
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 25
Publication categoryResearch

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