Prescription Drugs Still Easy To Buy Online

    July 10, 2008

Although the number of Web sites selling controlled prescription drugs, like OxyContin and Valium, has decreased in the past year, 85 percent of Web sites selling such drugs do not require a prescription according to a new report by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

Out of 365 Web sites selling controlled prescription drugs, only two were found to be legitimate sites that were certified by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, a professional organization representing all state boards of pharmacy.

"This decline in the number of Web sites advertising or selling controlled prescription drugs may reflect efforts of federal and state agencies and financial institutions to crack down on Internet drug trafficking. Nevertheless, in spite of those efforts, anyone of any age can obtain dangerous and addictive prescription drugs with the click of a mouse," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s Chairman and President and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.

Of those sites that did not require a prescription, 42 percent advertised that no prescription was needed, 45 percent offered an "online consultation," and 13 percent made no mention of a prescription.

Benzodiazepines (like Xanax and Valium) remain the most frequently offered drugs for sale with 90 percent of sites selling them, followed by opioids (like Vicodin and OxyContin) available at 57 percent of sites.

The CASA report recommends the U.S. negotiate treaties with foreign governments to help stop the flow of illegal prescription drugs online.

It also called on search engines like Yahoo, Google and Microsoft to block advertisements from unlicensed and uncertified online pharmacies.