Feeds

Drugs agency calls for crackdown in e-pharmacies

Illegal trade targets the vulnerable

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Governments must do more to crack down on the illegal trafficking of pharmaceutical drugs online.

Inconsistent laws and the failure to enforce legislation already in place has led to an explosion in the trade of pharmaceutical drugs online. Some can be bought via Web sites while other are touted openly in spam emails, making it easy for people to get their hands on powerful drugs.

In particular, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) warns that the international online trade in controlled substances is targeted at vulnerable people such as addicts.

But the UN body accepts that controlling Internet pharmacies is a complicated business, not least because these pharmacies are operating all over the world and can - and do - relocate their operations at short notice whenever they are threatened with legal action.

Different national laws and regulations make it difficult for law enforcers to identify and investigate illicit use of the Internet. Also, the sheer volume of letters and parcels shipped on a daily basis makes it almost impossible for police to detect illegal shipments and track their origin.

Despite the difficulties, the INCB has called on Governments to do more to stamp out the trade. In its annual report published today the INCB said: "Governments should ensure that illicit trafficking and the diversion of pharmaceutical products containing narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances are established as criminal offences. Such offences should be punishable by sanctions commensurate with their gravity."

There have been some successes. Last year, a restaurateur and her son were jailed in Florida for running an unlicensed Internet pharmacy which fulfilled orders from a bedroom in her suburban home. Although they operated only two websites, mother and son generated a whopping $1.3 million in sales.

And then there are the consequences of this illegal trade. Last year, the mother of a Durham University student called on the Government to do more to stop unscrupulous companies selling prescription drugs on the Internet after her son took his own life while suffering from depression after becoming addicted to a cocktail of drugs that he obtained online.

Speaking after his inquest mum, Mue Bracknell, said that Web sites selling prescription drugs on the Internet are "cynically manipulating vulnerable people who are desperate". ®

Related stories

Legality of online pharmacies questioned
'Unscrupulous' Net drugs trade led to death of student
e-Pharmacy sites offer risky prescription

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.