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85% of Online Pharmacies Sell Controlled Drugs Without Needing a Prescription

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posted 10:20 AM EST, Sat July 12, 2008
85% of Online Pharmacies Sell Controlled Drugs Without Needing a Prescription © Photo: Emuishere Peliculas

A Columbia University study on online drug retailing shows how easy it is to buy controlled drugs without the need of a prescription.

The vast majority, over 85%, of online pharmacies will sell controlled medications like OxyContin or Ritalin without asking for a doctor's prescription.

Joseph Califano, head of Columbia University's National Center on Substance Abuse and Addiction led the study of online pharmacies, and summarized the findings as, "Anyone of any age can obtain dangerous and addictive prescription drugs with the click of a mouse."

Columbia researchers visited 365 online drug-stores and found that 85% of these would sell controlled drugs without needing a prescription. The total number of online pharmacies, however, was down 37% from a year earlier - a trend attributed to law enforcement efforts online.

The DEA reports that 80% of purchases made at online pharmacies are for controlled drugs, while in retail pharmacies such medications account for only 11% of purchases.

The Senate passed a bill earlier this year that strengthens the regulatory language against the illicit sale of medications online – that bill awaits House approval.

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