I am sure I do not have to tell you, but drugs are expensive — prescription drugs, that is. So expensive in fact that many people must choose to either go without medication or go around the law. The law, put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), requires prescription drugs to come from licensed pharmacies.
As a result, many unlicensed online pharmacies have sprung up to provide cheap and easy access to prescription drugs — without a prescription.
According to the FDA’s website, “These laws require that certain drugs be dispensed only with a valid prescription because they are not safe for use without the supervision of a licensed health care practitioner.”
Surely we can all agree that such drugs should be controlled and supervised by people who know what they are doing. The prospect that anyone with an Internet connection can buy anything from Vicodin to Viagra is disconcerting to say the least.
Needless to say the FDA has enacted several policies to deter people from going to these shady online pharmacies. However, a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Statistics suggests that those policies take things a bit too far.
Indeed, the real problem with this situation is the cost of prescription medications. Anyone who has tried to buy a simple antibiotic without medical insurance knows this all too well. Combine that with the current economic situation and it is not surprising that people are taking their business overseas.
Still, the risk to those who do business with these rogue pharmacies is too great to justify using them. Not only is there the obvious risk of getting uppers when you ordered downers, there are a menagerie of legal risks to account for.
Any time you see something selling for much less than it should on the Internet, you should be wary. Depending on the site, buyers may unknowingly be receiving stolen goods, which is a no-no — especially when you may not be able to prove you had no idea where the drugs came from.
Also, while it may not be a prosecutable offense, giving money to these pharmacies could be at the very least be contributing to the problems related to illegal pharmacies, and at most be funding various other illegal activities — which may not be as charitable as offering discount Viagra.
In the end, it is the FDA and the pharmacy system in this country that share the majority of the blame for this situation. We have all heard the phrase, “if you outlaw guns only the outlaws will have guns.” While that is a shaky argument at best, it can be used to illustrate how the FDA has helped to create this situation.
While the cost of prescription drugs is in no way as simple an issue as I am making it out to be, the FDA needs to acknowledge that high prices will drive people away from lawful means 11 times out of 10.
If the FDA wants people to stop going to sketchy online pharmacies, they need to either lower prescription drug costs through some sort of economical hocus-pocus or try to lend some legitimacy to these online pharmacies. There are already a few pharmacy sites with licensed pharmacists, but you can bet that lower costs correlate with less legitimate licensing.