Volume 1, 2013: Issue 1

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Towards a development of an index to measure pharmaceutical companies' online privacy practices


Shonda D. Brown, Nova Southeastern University, USA

Yair Levy, Nova Southeastern University, USA


Consumers have begun to take a more proactive approach to their healthcare by accessing pharmaceutical companies Websites to obtain health and drug information, support groups, rebates, coupons, as well as free drug trials. In exchange for these benefits, companies require consumers to voluntarily disclose information. However, research has shown that consumers continue to be concerned about how their information is managed, used, and distributed by companies, especially if accessed via the Web. To date, there has been limited empirical research to examine the actual online practices of companies, especially those of pharmaceutical companies. This work-inprogress research study will outline a research plan to develop a benchmarking instrument to examine the documented and actual online practices of 100 Websites of pharmaceutical companies. In this paper, we will provide empirical evidence regarding the magnitude of voluntary adherence to the Fair Information Practices by pharmaceutical companies. Second, we will propose the development of an index to measure the personal information privacy violations of pharmaceutical companies. We anticipate that our results can provide consumers with empirical evidence of how their information is managed and used by pharmaceutical companies. A high magnitude of personal information privacy violations could negatively impact consumers’ trust, concerns, and interactions with the Websites which could continue to constrain the growth of e-commerce.


Personal information privacy violations; Consumer control; Fair information practices; Information privacy; Information sharing; Pharmaceutical companies’ online practices


Research-in-progress paper


The Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management (OJAKM), ISSN: 2325-4688


International Institute for Applied Knowledge Management (IIAKM)


18 June 2013