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Rui Liu



Where and how do you buy medicines? A social and cultural study of attitudes towards buying medicines online and abroad among Swedish public


  • Rui Liu
  • Susanne Lundin

Summary, in English

We start our presentation with a brief overview of the literature written about SF medical products in the social and cultural sciences. In September 2015, we broadly reviewed literature about the phenomenon of SF medical products, and identified research gaps regarding social, cultural and ethical aspects. Studies, presented below, are two pilot studies aimed to fill some of the gaps. In May 2018 we completed a new literature search focusing specifically on the social sciences and cultural sciences.

In order to understand where and how the Swedish public access their medicines, especially prescribed medicines, an online survey was conducted. Among a collection of 155 answers, the data shows that, although a majority of the respondents feel hesitated and negative towards shopping prescribed medicines online, a tendency is demonstrated that people would seek out medical assistance from other sources in foreign countries if their need could not be satisfied by the current national healthcare service. This might expose these vulnerable patients to the danger of falsified medicines. Our findings point out the need to map out medical consumers’ shopping patterns and call for more qualitative studies to understand this mechanism and to provide the public with necessary information regarding shopping medicines in a safe environment. Thereafter a survey with 200 Swedish doctors was carried out. The main purpose was to gather information on how much knowledge and experiences these frontline medical professionals had regarding SF medical products. The results show that 1 in 4 respondents have not heard about this phenomenon and there is a lack of awareness among physicians on the use of the reporting system. Related education is needed and desired.


  • Department of Service Studies
  • The Cultural Studies Group of Neuroscience
  • Division of Ethnology

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Conference name

Medicine quality and public health Conference

Conference date

2018-09-24 - 2018-09-28

Conference place

Oxford, United Kingdom



Research group

  • The Cultural Studies Group of Neuroscience