The revised Pharmaceutical Affairs Act that came into force in June 2009 prohibits the sales of nonprescription drugs by mail. However, as a provisional measure, regular users and inhabitants of remote islands that do not have pharmacies or drug stores would be able to purchase nonprescription drugs by mail for two years. However, this regulation is now being discussed from the perspectives of safety and convenience. The purpose of this study was to conduct a survey on the purchasing of nonprescription drugs over the internet by inhabitants of remote islands belonging to Goto City in Nagasaki prefecture. The results showed that approximately 78.0% of the Internet-literate respondents living on large islands (with pharmacies, drug stores, and pharmacists, e.g., Fukue-shima), 65.4% of the Internet-literate respondents living on small islands scattered around large islands (where pharmacies, drug stores, and pharmacists are not located, e.g., Mae-shima) had purchased necessities except nonprescription drugs, but the rate of purchasing nonprescription drugs over the internet was approximately less than 10%. The results of this survey suggest that it is not necessary to purchase nonprescription drugs over the Internet. However, owing to a small but significant minority of inhabitants who need to purchase nonprescription drugs over the Internet, there is an urgent need for establishing an optimum system for supplying medicinal products to remote islands.
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