Rise in Popularity of Online Pharmacies Has Serious Consequences

The unregulated sale of controlled drugs through online pharmacies is a growing trend in the United States. In a society heavily influenced by the sultry lure of the prescription medications that are currently used to treat a variety of biological and behavioral problems, it comes as no surprise that eventually many of our medical needs would be met by online pharmaceutical retailers. There are many benefits to this type of drug distribution. The disabled or homebound population can have their medications conveniently delivered to their homes, shoppers enjoy a certain level of discretion and anonymity, and the selection of products is vast. Item information can be easily researched and compared through the use of websites, and computers can quickly catch potentially dangerous prescription errors. However, despite the seeming benefits of this online trade, there are many significant drawbacks also associated with the sale of online prescription drugs.

In a study released last Wednesday July 9th, by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, under the leadership of Joseph Califano, it was found that most websites selling prescription opioids, stimulants, and depressants require no legitimate prescription to do so. This rise in illegitimate drug activity has also been linked to the growing abuse of prescription drugs especially amongst college students. This year alone there are 365 sites devoted to selling controlled medications by mail. Controlled drugs commonly purchased without a prescription included Oxycontin, methadone, Vicodin, Xanax, and Valium.

According to a 2005 study completed by Christopher Littlejohn and his associates, online merchants can be categorized into four basic types–“legitimate,” “subscription,” “lifestyle” and “no-prescription.” Legitimate pharmacies operate similarly to traditional pharmacies. Customers must have a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner, and in general these websites do not offer the types of controlled prescription drugs that are most commonly obtained illegally and abused. Users of subscription pharmacies are granted access to a full range of drugs without a prescription once they sign up for a program and pay a membership fee. These subscription websites are furtively maintained in hard-to-regulate areas of the world like Mexico and Asia. Lifestyle pharmacies ask customers to fill out a medical questionnaire in lieu of a prescription. They commonly provide more elective or luxury drugs that treat conditions such as alopecia, obesity, and impotence. No-Prescription pharmacies are just that. These are sites that are willing to mail controlled drugs to online customers without a prescription. Littlejohn’s study also contended that the people who most commonly ordered drugs illegally from these websites were literate, credit card owning individuals with internet access. These three factors also lead to the inference that the abusers of online pharmacies are of a relatively high socioeconomic status.

There are many distressing consequences associated with the sale of prescription drugs online. Unlike conventional pharmacies, there is little to no consumer protection over the internet. Products can be advertised with false claims and the sale of unapproved trial drugs goes unchecked. The administrators of illegal websites often remain anonymous and can quickly disable and create new sites that make it difficult for any regulatory agency to keep track of their activities. Operations are also commonly run outside of the U.S. making law enforcement officials scramble to put together international cooperation efforts.

This lack of effective online pharmacy regulation can lead to disastrous consequences. Francine Haight of La Mesa, Calif lost her son Ryan to an overdose of the generic form of Vicodin, which he ordered without her permission online with a debit card. “The Internet made it easy for the drug dealers to sneak into your living room,” she said. The sale of online drugs has lead to drug and substance abuse, and death related to drug interactions, incorrect dosage or administration, and impure drugs. Illegal prescriptions can end up in the hands of children or others who are incapable of using them responsibly.

As the sale of controlled drugs without a prescription is a recent phenomenon, means of combating the trend are still in development. The FDA has vowed to increase public outreach and awareness, expand enforcement, and develop tighter bonds of international cooperation. In April the “Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act” was approved by the Senate and is currently being reviewed in House committee meetings. If passed, the legislation would require online pharmacies to be properly certified and for doctors to meet in person with patients before giving out a prescription for a controlled drug. Some state governments have already passed laws that regulate the online drug trade but many advocates are pushing for stricter federal regulation. Some search engine companies have begun to fight back against online sellers by employing a program called, “Pharmacy Checker.” The device filters out unlawful advertisers and forces them to provide verification.

The sale of controlled drugs over the internet is proliferating quickly and as is commonly seen with progress in technology, there is a gap between action and regulation. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, 85% of internet drugs sales are controlled drugs while only 11% of those same drugs are being sold at traditional pharmacies. These statistics display the obvious potential for drug abuse and need for greater online pharmaceutical quality control. In a society where prescription drugs have become the norm rather than psychotherapy, counseling, or cognitive behavioral therapy, this online market flourishes.

Sources:

Eckholm, Eirk. (2008, July 9). Abuses Found in Online Sales of Medication. New York Times, Retrieved July 10th, 2008, from nytimes.com/2008/07/09/health/09drugs.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Henney, Jane. (2001). Cyberpharmacies and the role of the US Food and Drug Administration. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 3(1), Retrieved July 10, 2008 from the PubMed database.

Littlejohn,C., Baldacchino, A., Schifano, F., & Deluca, P. (2005). Internet Pharmacies And Online Prescription Drug Sales: a cross-sectional study. Drugs: education prevention and policy, 12, 75-80. Retrieved July 10th 2008, from the Academic Search Premier database.

The New Drug Of Choice

It has been called a “magical” drug. Its chronic abuse has destroyed lives, families and loved ones. Its users claim that they cannot stop using. It has become their way of life. They can’t imagine what life would be without it.

What drug am I referring to?

Credit cards.

The abuse of credit cards is quickly becoming the epidemic of the 21st century and it is claiming lives and making indentured servants of consumers worldwide. The credit card “pushers” fill consumers mail boxes with their “drug” and frequent college campuses to turn our children into junkies.
Like cocaine it drains your bank account. The addicts come from all walks of life. The addiction is not prejudice to race, color or religious background. It strikes at the heart of consumers and few seldom recover before damage is done.

There is even a 12 step group that’s sole purpose is to help the addict.
From the Debtors Anonymous preamble:
“Debtors Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from compulsive debting.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop incurring unsecured debt. There are no dues or fees for D.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
D.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.
Our primary purpose is to stop debting one day at a time and to help other compulsive debtors to stop incurring unsecured debt.”

Debtors Anonymous started in 1968 when a core group of recovering members from Alcoholics Anonymous held their first meeting to discuss the problems they were experiencing with money.
By 1971, the essence of the D.A. Program unfolded in the discovery and understanding that the act of debting itself was the threshold of this disease, and the only solution was to use a Twelve Step program.
Credit cards most definitely are part of our society, no matter if you make purchases online, offline, in person or wherever you are. It is difficult, if not impossible, to rent a car or make a reservation without one.

Credit cards are available with every turn of your head and misusing you credit lines can mean trouble for your financial future. The sad fact is that people use credit cards to pay for things they cannot afford. A credit card gives us the opportunity to pay more for an item purchased.
Why do seemingly intelligent people do such things?

There are probably more answers (or excuses) to that question than I can count, but it can be safe to assume that “convenience” would grace the list somewhere. Using the thinking above though, does it really make sense to “conveniently” pay more for a product or services price? This is addictive thinking. The main feature of addictive thinking is denial. Denial is the trick the addicts mind plays on them to excuse the use of their “drug” no matter what harm it causes.

You keep using because you’re obsessed with the desire to feel good.

Although there is no such thing as debtors prisons, being a slave to your debt can feel quite constricting. When you are no longer working for your family, but you creditors, there needs to be an intervention. You need to stop the addictive acting and thinking. You need recovery.
Once you are out of debt, say with the help of debt settlement, there are several ways to prevent yourself from ever having to suffer from this horrible addiction again.

Easier said than done, right?

With a little discipline and a lot of persistence, you can happily maintain a lifestyle that will never be in need of debt again.

It’s all about a budget. Sit down and determine the total amount of take-home pay that comes into your household every month. Next, determine the nature and amount of all necessary expenses, including mortgage, auto, food and utilities. The amount that you have left after all necessary expenses have been paid will represent your extra spending money for the month. By spending no more than what you make, you will never again have to worry about needing being in debt.

Shop with a store list, it’s so easy to wander into the jewelry or sporting goods section, but there are often greater rewards with discipline. If you shop with a list and stay within the areas that sell only what you need to buy, you won’t be tempted by impulse purchases. Although excessive spending is not the only reason why many are in need of debt settlement services, it is one of the leading causes of debt.

Keep a journal, or track your spending with a personal finance program on the computer, at least for 30 days. A financial journal is a very responsible step toward managing your money and avoiding debt problems in the future. I call this my 30 day challenge.
How many times have you wondered where your money went? If you are like most, the answer to that question is all too often. Rather than wondering what happens to your hard-earned dollar, write down every single purchase in a daily journal. This will help you to see exactly what you are paying and where you your money is going.

Clip Coupons. You can save a lot of money every week simply by clipping a few coupons. Whether you find them online or in the Sunday newspaper, coupons are a terrific way to save money. Even if you only save $10.00 per week in coupons, that’s $40.00 per month. For most households, that money could be put toward a necessary expense.

Save. Every month, put some amount of money into a savings account. Many banks will allow you to open a savings account with no minimum deposit. Whatever you can afford, even if it’s just $20.00, putting money into some type of savings will provide you with a cushion for later use. Being able to access savings will be a great help if you should ever get that impulse to charge again. Remember, YOU ARE AN ADDICT! With addictive thoughts and actions. Your efforts to break the pattern are fine, but NEVER forget the problems caused by the old, charge it mentality.

Seniors at a Disadvantage When Purchasing Prescription Drugs Online

A recent national survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation in association with Princeton Survey Research Associates (PSRA) discovered that the digital world is still divided when it comes to seniors purchasing prescription drugs online.

The study found that approximately 30 percent of seniors (in this article, we define seniors as aged 65 and older) have used the Internet. However, 70% of their younger, seemingly more Net-savvy counterparts (50-64 year olds) are surfing the Net.

The dramatic differences between the two groups indicate that the next generation of seniors will be more able to make more informed online prescription drug choices, and that online sources of pharmaceutical information may become more important as these 50-64 year olds age. Currently, only 21% of seniors have, at one point in time, viewed an Internet site for health information, whereas 53% of their 50-64 year old counterparts have done the same.

The survey also found a link between senior’s annual household income and their propensity to go online searching for health information: only 15% of seniors in the $20,000 a year or less income bracket have searched the Web, as opposed to 40% of the $20,000-49,000 income earners in the same age group, or 65% of the $50,000 and over bracket. Unfortunately, most of the $20,000 a year or less seniors are also on Medicare (64%).

Prescription drugs online have become, in the past several years, one of the top health care topics searched, with 13% of all seniors having researched pharmaceuticals at one time or another. Only 5% of seniors, however, say that they have researched drug costs online, with the same number stating they’ve purchased prescription drugs online.

With the new Medicare reforms that enable the use of discount drug cards, websites such as the federal Medicare.gov have become crucial comparison methods for seniors looking to save money. And yet, less than 1% of seniors’ doctors have recommended prescription drug websites to their clients, but more than half of the seniors participating in the survey have received emails from pharmaceutical companies that advertise medicines, nutritional therapies, supplements or other health related items.

Purchasing prescription drugs online shouldn’t be a hassle for seniors, and yet when looking at these statistics, it’s fairly evident the digital divide still exists; at it’s most disproportionate the tools created to help the most disadvantaged are not being used. Even though more than 30% of seniors have stated that the Internet is something they “wouldn’t want to do without”, and more than half feel the Internet keeps them in touch with loved ones, they are still not using the Internet to research prescription drugs online – or as much as they could be.

Hopefully, with this new research and increased awareness from those who support people over the age of 65, seniors can start researching, asking questions about and purchasing prescription drugs online with little to no hassle or headache.

Copyright © Stephen C. Dayton 2005

Where to Get Drugs For Baldness

Are you having any hair loss problems and just can’t think of a possible solution? Well, worry not for there is a wide range of drugs for baldness that are available on the market. These drugs can be obtained from pharmacies and other outlets that are approved to sell hair medication. How then do you get to know the best place to get these drugs? This article is going to look at some ways of getting these drugs for hair treatment.

The first step will be to visit a doctor who will diagnose your hair loss problem. Your doctor will then determine a possible solution for your condition. Your doctor will then prescribe for you some drugs. Once you have a prescription it would not be wise to go right away to just any pharmacy and buy the drugs prescribed. What you need to do first is to carry out a market survey. Doctors normally prescribe for you medication according to active ingredients. You will find that different pharmacies may have different products with different names but with the same active ingredient that was prescribed for you by your doctor. You will find that some products are a little bit expensive and you will just be paying the extra dollar for that name and not the function of the drug.

Once you have collected all the possible names of the drugs for baldness that were prescribed for you by your doctor, you can thus make a decision according to how much you have to spare, as well as comparing it to the quality of the product. Certain pharmacies will provide you with discounts for purchasing certain drugs from them. These are the pharmacies you need to look out for. These drugs are usually used for a long period of time and that means you definitely need to get them from dealers that will offer you some form of discount.

You can also get your drugs for baldness from the internet. Some pharmacies and drug stores offer discounts for customers who buy drugs online. This is so for when you make a purchase of goods online you save time as compared to visiting the store physically where time is taken trying to give you change while on the other hand online sales involve electronic money.

Buying your drugs from pharmacies that are online has certain advantages which you cannot get from those without sites. This is true for with online pharmacies you will be provided with some online technical support. Online technical support is there to attend to all frequently asked questions that are associated to the drugs they sell. Some sites even have professional who are doctors that will help advise customers on what to do when they face complications as a result of the drugs they purchased. If you buy hair drugs online you will also be kept in touch with modern advances in hair technology, as the online industry is ever up to date when it comes to new information.

Generic Drugs and Online Pharmacies

Even someone who has been living under a rock for the last five or so years would be aware of the confusion, misconception and questions that exist regarding generic prescription drugs, especially the largest selling online, by far, Viagra (Sildenafil Citrate) and other drugs used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Some people believe much of the misinformation published by those who would have them pay ten times more for genuine drugs rather than the far cheaper generic versions. Much of the confusion and misconception exists because, understandably, many can’t see how the generic drug can be the same thing but be so cheap. Well, here is why the vast difference exists. It’s no secret, nor is it difficult to understand. It’s simply economics versus opportunism (although sometimes justified).

The following applies to all generic drugs sold through online pharmacies and in retail pharmacies on the street. There is no difference.

When the drug is first researched, discovered and developed, it takes a number of years and many, many millions (if not billions) of dollars in research, failure, more research, testing through multiple stages. Then come the trials, which have to satisfy the likes of the FDA (most countries have their own version of the FDA), which can, again, take years and more millions and even still fail for one reason or another.

Once the drug is approved by the authorities as safe (or relatively so, with the appropriate warnings…), the drug company then have to spend more millions and months marketing and promoting it to the public and the medical profession and wait for them to become confident in the product. Then comes the mass manufacture, packaging, wholesaling, and distribution etc of the tablets or whatever form the drug tales.

Interestingly, for instance, from the time the patent was taken out on Viagra in 1993 it took five years, till 1998, before it could be sold. Huge investments in money, time and resources, which the drug company (and shareholders) needed desperately to recover, hopefully in short order. Who can blame them, really? It’s a huge investment and huge risk with any new drug and some don’t end up being worthwhile.

That’s why any original drug is relatively expensive compared to it’s generic counterpart. At least for the first decade or so, while these enormous investments are being recovered. Very simple indeed.

Now for generic drugs, of which there are many. First of all, they are generally manufactured overseas because of cheaper labor and production costs and also because the patent doesn’t allow for them to be made or sold in the U.S. (if that’s where they were originally discovered and patented) except by the patent owner. They can however, be imported, in personal quantities by individuals, in most countries.

Before we go any further, as I said, many other countries have their own versions of the FDA, which are every bit as stringent and effective. Those countries that don’t have such an authority rely on the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to approve and monitor the manufacture of already proven pharmaceuticals. Let’s face it, when people get sick in Australia, Britain, India, Russia, China, Japan etc and take the drugs made in their own country, they get better. The U.S is NOT the only place in the world that can be trusted to make quality, safe and effective pharmaceuticals. It would be silly and cynical to think so.

In fact, it may surprise some that the bulk ingredients for some so-called ‘US manufactured’ drugs are actually imported from other countries, so let’s be realistic!

The Generic drug that is purchased online is GENERALLY made in pharmaceutical facilities, which are approved by authorities much the same as the FDA and/or W.H.O. It is also interesting to note that vast amounts of GENERIC drugs like antibiotics, immunizations, birth control pills and even Viagra are used by the likes of W.H.O., World Vision and the Red Cross etc in their humanitarian endeavors because of their vastly cheaper prices. If they’re good enough for The Red Cross, are they good enough for you? I think so…

Generic Drugs that are sold through Online Pharmacies are so cheap because of the cheaper labor in other countries, but more so because of the obvious following reasons:

NO huge initial investment to recover.

NO wholesalers, distributors or retailers, they are shipped to the client from the manufacturer.

NO transport costs between three, four or often five of the above organizations.

NO stock needs to be kept by any of these non-existent middlemen or Pharmacies.

NO ‘bricks and mortar’ premises need to be maintained by the middlemen or the Pharmacies.

So you see, the ongoing mark-ups or profits from each of these middlemen don’t exist because they don’t exist, just the price from the manufacturer and their commission to the referring Online Pharmacy.

In closing, I must admit that there ARE counterfeit drugs and there are drugs, which don’t contain much of the effective ingredient. This problem is seen more so in drugs like Viagra, cialis and Levitra (the ED drugs) because of their popularity but STILL, these account for a very small percentage indeed, of the quality generic drugs sold online. People are still buying online drugs in droves and they wouldn’t continue to do that if they were having bad or questionable experiences, would they?

It’s also been discovered that the counterfeit drugs that everyone seems to condemn online Pharmacies over, ALSO show up in ‘bricks and mortar’ Pharmacies. So, why aren’t people wary of these retail outlets? Easy… media and the original manufacturer’s hype. Of course they’d rather sell all the online buyers genuine drugs at a much higher rate.

As for the best way to tell a safe online Pharmacy, look for a toll free phone number and other means of contact, for following up orders, requesting cancellations, refunds or complaints. If they have these, they can hardly be surviving by selling inferior products. Check out the contacts first if you wish to make sure they’re genuine.

This article is written in the spirit of assisting those who have a need for prescription drugs but are unable to, or have difficulty in, financing their urgent needs. Generic drugs are safe, in the main and online pharmacies are honest and helpful, also in the main. Action is continually being taken against pharmacies (both online and on the street), which sell inferior products. Hopefully we will soon have worldwide pharmacy access, which all people can trust and take advantage of.