Most Americans are prioritizing cost and convenience over safety when shopping for medications online, according to a 2021 survey from the ASOP Global Foundation. The survey measured Americans’ perceptions and use of online pharmacies, as well as their awareness of and response to the federal government’s final rule on prescription drug importation. More than one-third of consumers polled in the survey said they would knowingly ignore explicit government prohibitions from buying medicines from Canadian online pharmacies because of their misperceptions that they can safely access cheaper medications from sources abroad.

Additional key findings from the survey note:

  • 45% of Americans erroneously believe all websites offering health care services/prescription medications to Americans via the internet have been approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or state regulators;
  • Nearly half of Americans would be open to purchasing prescription medicines from an online source not sanctioned by FDA if it increased their access, decreased their cost, and provided convenience to more medicines;
  • 34% said knowing that the Importation of Prescription Drugs final rule explicitly prohibits individual American patients from buying medicines from Canadian online pharmacies would not change their behavior; and
  • 72% of Americans said verified websites should appear first when searching for medications online.

While more than one-third of Americans are now aware of patient harms linked to online prescription medication purchases – up 9% from 2020 – the new poll finds consumers still hold dangerous misperceptions about online pharmacies. View the full press release by visiting