News flash: Online drug sales are shady!


In what I'm sure is a fantastic surprise to everybody who has visited the Internet, according to a report in the New York Times, researchers at Columbia University have discovered that there are prescription drug pushers on the Internet who will sell you prescription drugs without a prescription.

From what I can gather, they didn't actually check whether what they ordered were indeed what the sites purported the substances to be (although thanks are extended to MasterCard, Visa, American Express and PayPal for their assistance, which means that they did investigate whether the major online payment systems can be used to purchase the drugs). So who knows, maybe the sites were selling fakes. In other words, maybe the issue isn't so much one of readily-accessible prescription drugs but rather one of fraud.

Comments (9)
  1. Oh yeah…been there, done that.  I’m sure a fair amount of them are frauds, but the one or two I used to deal with only required you fax them your medical history and have a "phone consultation".  In a matter of days UPS or FedEx would make the delivery.  Granted, this was some years ago but I cannot image the process or availability has changed all that much.

  2. Jim says:

    Saw a documentary once that showed drugs being relabeled to show higher dosage amounts and sales past the sell-by date.  I’m not sure how they would go about relabeling the capsules, though.

  3. Jim, one word:  Compounded.  <eg>

  4. Naugahyde Jane says:

    The other "Silent partner" in the Internet drug biz is FedEx and another other overnight delivery companies. Along with the credit card companies, they create a trust management system that holds the whole thing together. FedEx can prove I got the pills, and Visa/MasterCard can prove I paid, making it harder for the dealer to cheat the customer or vice versa.

    The dealer is likely to be a doctor who figures that he can make a killing for a year or two before the D.E.A. catches up with him. With a two hundred dollar profit on each sale, its a great way to beef up the retirement plan.

    The pills themselves are worth pennies each, and go for $2.00 to $3.00 — about the same as the drug dealer on Jones Street.

    The worst part of the whole thing is that the telemarketing calls trying to get you to buy more never stop.

  5. duncan_bayne says:

    The root of this problem is the presumption that adults should have to obtain permission slips from the Government to purchase certain medicines.

  6. Liam says:

    Hmm I am unsure on if I should get my "repeat prescription" on which I keep getting email reminders now. Funny thing is I do not remember ordering any?

  7. Daniel Colascione says:

    Duncan, one question I like to ask during a debate is the following:

    Suppose a new drug is created that boosts intelligence by 50 IQ points, and its side effects are as rare and benign as Tylenol’s. Should we require a prescription for this drug?

    If my opponent answers "yes", there’s no helping him, and the debate might as well be over. I suppose my opponent secretly wants to create an office of Handicapper General.

  8. mjb says:

    "Suppose a new drug is created that boosts intelligence by 50 IQ points, and its side effects are as rare and benign as Tylenol’s. Should we require a prescription for this drug?"

    Easy to debate, since the existence of such a drug having such minimal side effects (and known and proven as such) is dubious

    Drugs that have that kind of effect on someone probably need a fair amount of testing long term…so yes, I would require a prescription

  9. Worf says:

    Not`to mention some drugs gave serious interactions (thus the "permission slip" helps keep those to a minimum), some are addictive (and the permission slip helps try to keep one from being addicted), while others have long-term effects that shouldn’t be used for an extended period of time.

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