Pharmaceuticals

US Government Targets Online Pharmacies

Doesn't want consumers to be able to choose

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In their search for cheaper prescription drugs, Americans are increasingly turning to Internet pharmacies, which federal investigators say skirt U.S. and state regulations and sell misbranded, adulterated and counterfeit drugs. These transactions — often without a legitimate prescription —put consumers at risk, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report.

Most of these rogue Internet pharmacies are located overseas, which often puts them beyond U.S. enforcement action, and are also skilled at avoiding detection and identification, the GAO said. Even when the U.S. has used diplomatic pressure to close their websites, many pop up again under new names.

The problem is big and getting bigger. According to LegitScript, an Internet pharmacy verification service, there were more than 34,000 active rogue Internet pharmacies as of April 2013.