An empirical investigation of consumers' procurement of pharmaceutical products via online retail channels



The procurement of pharmaceuticals from electronic channels is drawing widespread attention from marketing decision makers, public policymakers, and the popular media. The focus on online retail channels for pharmaceuticals may be, in part, attributable to the potential risks and safety issues that underlie consumers' self-initiated pharmaceutical acquisition and consumption decisions. Clearly, there exist an unprecedented number of consumers employing this nontraditional channel for procuring both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pharmaceuticals in the U.S. This study explores the potential impact of consumers' cognitive characteristics on their decision making as it relates to procuring pharmaceutical products via online retail channels. The results of the study indicate that both powerful others health locus of control and objectivism determine the propensity to procure pharmaceuticals via electronic retail channels. Moreover, health value is identified as a portentous moderator of the relationship between consumers' health locus of control, objectivism, and pharmaceuticals procurement via electronic retail channels. The implications of the findings and recommendations for future research are offered, as well. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.