Every day, drugs are being sold online without the safety of prescriptions and the guidance of doctors.
In an article published by Slate.com, writer and physician Ford Vox narrated how his wife ended with a prescription gel for acne from Thailand.
He said his wife was looking for an acne treatment on Amazon and came across Vitara Clinda Gel. But when it arrived on her doorstep and read the label, she realized it is made of clindamycin, a prescription drug.
Vox's further searches on the e-commerce site revealed a number of other prescription drugs for sale without a prescription.
He said that such drugs "warrant careful oversight to avoid complications or endangering public health, such as by breeding antibiotic resistance."
While he was writing the article, the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Customs and Border Protection was in the middle of search and seizure operations for illegal prescription drugs in a number of shipping facilities in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
"The FDA didn't respond to questions about whether any of the seized goods were purchased via Amazon. Last year CBP intercepted 4,821 packages containing medications illegally imported by Americans without prescriptions at international mail facilities across the country, the agency told me," Vox wrote.
His interviews with various people showed that it is the FDA that should have jurisdiction and should be policing Amazon.
"The FDA seems to have a blind spot for the online commerce champion," he pointed out.
Vox's attempt to speak with public relations manager Erik Fairleigh only pointed him to Amazon's policy on counterfeiting, an attempt, he said, to distance the company from its third-party sellers.
Meanwhile, LegalExaminer.com, reacting on the Slate article, said the FDA will first need to address the problem. On the other hand, it said the Customs and International Bar Association should also find ways and take steps to prosecute websites that engage in illegal sales of prescription drugs.
The easy access to prescription drugs and opioids has long been a problem in the US, resulting in at least 2.5 million Americans becoming dependent on them.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than half of their survey respondents were able to get prescription drugs for free from a friend or a relative. Only 18 percent received a prescription from one doctor while 16 percent bought or took the pills from a friend or a relative. A mere 0.3 percent bought the pills from the Internet but this amount is substantial considering that 52 million people have used prescription drug non-medically at least once in their lifetime.
To deal with the increasing number of Americans abusing prescription drugs, health officials have been encouraging the use of opioid antagonists or medications that help curb a person's dependence on opioids.
BiocorRx's Start Fresh Program uses both medication and life coaching to treat patients dependent on opioids. Its unique naltrexone implant, inserted underneath the skin through an outpatient procedure that lasts for about half an hour, can help curb cravings for opioids for up to six months in most people.
The six months gives the window of time for the program's life coaches to work with patients on how they will move on and plan for a future without being dependent on alcohol or drugs.
Because naltrexone is able to block the part of the brain that feels pleasure with the intake of addictive substances, it keeps patients sober enough to address the psycho-social aspect of their addiction.