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Cyber Crime - Sale Of Prescription Drugs And Controlled Substances

online legal pharmacies pharmacy

The Internet is used to sell legal prescription drugs and controlled substances such as various narcotic painkillers or steroids used in bodybuilding. Increasingly, dealers of illegal drugs or controlled chemicals such as steroids that only a licensed pharmacy may dispense are using the Internet for their transactions. Three types of online pharmacies exist on the Internet:

  1. Legitimate online pharmacies—they operate in a traditional manner by requiring a valid prescription from a licensed physician. These pharmacies employ state licensed pharmacists.
  2. Diagnose and prescribe pharmacies—they ask customers to fill out online medical questionnaires and prescribe medications based on the questionnaire.
  3. Illegitimate pharmacies—they allow customers to purchase prescription drugs without any prescriptions at all.

The first type of online pharmacy legally dispenses drugs. Various forms of criminal intent may possibly exist in the second and third types. Consumers may not be able to confirm whether or not the pharmacy is legitimate. Some of these pharmacies are scams, taking customer names and credit card numbers but never sending any products. Some dispense mislabeled, diluted (watered down), or fake drugs.

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibits the manufacture and distribution of mislabeled or altered drugs. Keeping Americans safe from fraudulent online pharmacies is a challenge to law enforcement since both federal and state officials have jurisdiction over the sale of prescription drugs. In addition to federal laws, each state has its own set of laws and legal requirements for prescription drug sales. Online pharmacies sell in all states but what may be legal in one state may not be legal in another. Further complicating an already complicated situation, many pharmacy Web sites are based outside the United States and offer drugs, both legal and illegal, to customers living in the United States.

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