The Online Drug Marketplace
If you’re like most people who use the Internet, you find the convenience and easy comparison shopping qualities of buying goods and services online appealing. When it comes to buying prescription medication, however, there are plenty of risks. How, for example, can you tell that what you’re buying is not only the real deal, but also safe? Here is how to know where to buy legitimate online medications and why the Internet is becoming the new street corner of the illicit drug trade.
Non-Compliant and Unsafe
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy examined the online drug marketplace and found that the vast majority — about 97 percent — do not comply with industry standards, state and federal laws. Although “lifestyle” drugs such as Viagra were the earliest online pharmaceuticals, today consumers are wondering if they can purchase medicines for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer online. The consequences are developing into a considerable public health issue where lives are, quite literally, at stake.
Buying Legitimate Prescription Medication Online
If you have a legitimate prescription for medication and buying online is still appealing, the Food and Drug Administration recommends using only an American supplier with a licensed pharmacist who is available to answer your questions. These legitimate suppliers require a prescription and will also protect your information, should you choose to pay online. Also make sure you know where your online pharmacy is located and ask where they purchase their drugs — an online pharmacy with a bricks-and-mortar location is more likely to operate safely and legitimately. Avoid pharmacies that claim a Canadian location, as Canadian online pharmacies distribute more counterfeit drugs to the U.S. than any other place in the world.
The Silk Road
Perhaps even more alarmingly, an underground illicit auction website called Silk Road made it possible to purchase illicit drugs and paraphernalia online. Silk Road patrons used bitcoins — an untraceable electronic currency that is not regulated by any country — to purchase everything from fake passports to heroin. It operated for two years without interruption until the FBI arrested its leader, Ross Ulbricht, and charged him with attempted murder, drugs trafficking and money laundering. Silk Road staff immediately launched a second version of the site, also through a hidden service.
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