July 14th, 2009
11:44 AM ET

Internet is the new street corner drug dealer

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/HEALTH/05/21/online.drugs/art.mail.order.drugs.03.cnn.jpg caption= "These pills were sent to CNN's Drew Griffin, even though he was never seen by a doctor."]

Editor's Note: Four Emmy nominees for Outstanding Investigative Reporting on a Regularly Scheduled Newscast were announced today. CNN's David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffith were nominated for their pieces on online prescription drug abuse.

Drew Griffin and David Fitzpatrick
CNN Special Investigations Unit

Every night before he went to bed, he would open a prescription bottle of the muscle relaxant Soma and swallow the 8 or 9 pills his wife says would be the only way he could get to sleep. Only last summer the doses were increasing.

She thought the drugs, arriving at her doorstep every week were being prescribed by a treating physician. Her husband had been in a car accident, suffered from back pain, and Soma was the one drug that could relieve the aches.

She was wrong. Although she wants to protect her husband’s identity and hers so as not to embarrass her husband’s family, she is willing to tell the story of how he died.

She found him last August in bed in a pool of vomit. The cause of death, accidental overdose.

The widow says there is no doubt her husband was an addict. She also says the internet sites that sold him the drugs were his pushers.

"Absolutely” she told CNN. “That's exactly what they are."

"These pharmacy people that are doing this and these doctors that are doing this. They don't give a dag gum about people; it’s just the almighty dollar that’s all it is."

Any drug in the world by clocking a mouse

A CNN investigation into just how easy it is to purchase prescription drugs, online, without a prescription reveals a growing and largely ignored new battle in the war on drug abuse.

Carmen Catizone, the executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy says prescription drugs are the new crack and heroin, and internet sites that sell them are the new drug dealers.

"You can order virtually any drug in the world by simply clicking a mouse and going to various websites that exist out there," Catizone told CNN.

To prove it, a CNN investigative reporter logged on to the internet site linepaharmacy.com, a site that advertises a long list of prescription drugs for sale. The site sent us an email saying "all orders made are still subjected to Doctor's evaluation."

The CNN reporter placed two orders with the site: one for Prozac, the other for the anti-depressant Elavil. A health survey on the site was already filled in. The reporter submitted a credit card and a shipping address.

Within 24 hours the Prozac had arrived at the reporter’s front door. The Elevil arrived two days later. Both prescription bottles had a doctor’s name and pharmacy on the label. The reporter had neither seen a doctor, talked to a doctor on the phone, nor had ever heard of the doctor.

Lawmakers: “Show us the dead bodies”

Catizone insists the purchases made to CNN were illegal. But he says pharmacy laws are subject to individual state control, and though illegal in every state, individual pharmacy boards in the fifty states have virtually no investigative power, budget or resources to shut down the growing number of sites selling drugs over the internet.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has tried to lobby congress, asking form some federal oversight or federal prosecution to stem the tide of the growing, illegal internet pharmacies. But Catizone says legislators gave the board a chilly response.

"Show us the dead bodies, and if that was me or my family that's a pretty sad statement for our legislators to give," Catizone says.

Network of pharmacies and doctors

The internet sites work with a network of small pharmacies inside and outside the U.S. According the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, unscrupulous doctors are paid to have their names used on the prescriptions, even though the doctors never see the patients or even review the orders.

Nancy Fitzpatrick, a Washington State woman who tried to commit suicide with internet purchased drugs showed CNN her prescription of Soma which was delivered by a pharmacy in American Forks, Utah and prescribed by a doctor in Long island, New York. Fitzpatrick, the sister of a CNN investigative producer, says she had no contact with the doctor or the pharmacy.

The doctor, Dr. Kareem Tannous, lives in a $4 million dollar estate on Long Island and runs three health clinics. When confronted about the prescription’s in front of his Valley Stream, NY clinic, Tannous hustled to his car and drove off without answering a single question.

Workers inside Roots Pharmacy in American Forks, Utah also refused to answer questions. The second story office in the small foothill town has a bolted security door, closed circuit security cameras. The workers inside refused to even open the door or provide the name of the owner.

In the reception area on the first floor, dozens of boxes of empty FedEx envelopes were waiting to be filled. And with CNN cameras rolling, one of the workers emptied a large clear plastic trash bag filled with empty wholesale prescription drug bottles. Most of the containers were labeled Carisoprodol, the generic name of the muscle relaxant Soma.

"They need to be stopped,” Fitzpatrick says. “It just boggles my mind that it's so simple."

Editor's note: Read a report on this investigation at CNN.com/health, and check out CNN producer David Fitzpatrick's blog on how online drugs affected his family.

soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Fred Chicago

    More people have got to take personal responsibility. If drug companies were not gauging the public and if there were National Healthcare, these internet sites probably would go out of business. Most who use these services are people like EJ above. They can not afford prescriptions or unnecessary trips to the ER or to an MD, so if they did not have the internet, they would be simply out of luck for any medication. To blame suicides on the internet is misplaced blame. No offense, but if someone wants to die, they would have simply found another way. The healthcare industry needs to be reformed. If this happens the majority of these sites would go out of business. People in the US spend far too much time finding others to blame for their problems. I use to work for a pharmaceutical company and know first hand how they drain the public financially. I use to sell a prescription that cost about fifty cents a pill to make, which for a 30 day supply would cost about fifteen dollars a month. They charged over 150 dollars for that 30 day supply. Also many of these generic drugs that are sold on the internet are manufactured by our own pharmaceutical companies. They have subsidiaries overseas that manufacture the generics which become available on the web. They know that people are going to buy generics, so they want to keep that revenue inhouse as well.

    May 24, 2008 at 5:44 am |
  2. Robert

    It is easy to understand why people choose to buy medicine on the internet. The government drug czars have made doctors afraid to prescribe medicine for chronic pain,etc. Many suffer needlessly because their doctors will not help them, and the internet prices are inflated. These people have to choose between pain or the high cost of the internet medications

    May 24, 2008 at 3:22 am |
  3. Joe Gilmore


    How bad has it gotten where a drug abuser claims that they are a victim? Why should a doctor have to even see you to prescribe? As a patient, do you not research your health issues before you visit your doctor? Are you wrong or right about what you've researched? Me, I do the research and I don't assume everyone else is an idiot and needs to be regulated. I'd be happy with a system like Mexico. In the U.S. I even have to get a prescription for my dog's dewormer! That's nuts!

    I go to my doctor, tell him my symptoms, what I think is going on, and what I've found to be the best solution. I have not been wrong yet. From my perspective, a doctor is nothing more than a service provider, a counselor that does not have any more responsibility to me than just to do the best he can. He/she is no more than a member of my life's staff. I, and only I, am the decision maker in all things me. I'm afraid your show is allowing the weak minded to lay the responsibility for their own actions on others. Should we punish the doctor or the person abusing medications. Wouldn't that person just find another source anyway? So by not allowing Doctor's to write scripts on a phone or email, are you keeping the idiots from getting the medications that they abuse or will they get it elsewhere and the only people who are effectively kept from receiving medications this way are those of us who do the research and won't pursue procuring drugs from non-doctors. Again, because of regulations in the US, I actually need a prescription for my dogs Revolution (dewormer)...why? Think about that. My dog may be damaged more by the drug than heart worm at some point? That's insane (and a real pain in my butt!).

    May 24, 2008 at 3:21 am |
  4. Jeff

    I have had brain surgery and suffer from chronic headache pain every day. I used to take 60-mg. Oxycoten and Oxycocet for breakthrough pain every single day as prescribed legally by my doctors. Then, one day, I went to renew my prescriptions and the doctor cut me off them cold turkey. The doctor said there was too much abuse and no more prescriptions could be filled. The result was near suicide, depression and severe withdrawal. I spent six weeks in withdrawal and I'm now forced to handle the severe headaches by taking massive doses of over-the-counter drugs. So, you see, because of this sort of internet drug abuse, the people who really need the drugs and want to obtain them legally are being denied. And that's leading to overdoses of over-the-counter drugs. What is needed is better control of prescription drugs, but at the same time, there has to be some way for the people who desperately need the medications to get them. In Ontario, Canada, it is now a disaster. And I can see that's where your country is headed as well.

    May 24, 2008 at 3:03 am |
  5. clif




    May 24, 2008 at 2:59 am |
  6. Jan

    Here we go again, its the news media we watch to find out how to get ANYTHING.

    May 24, 2008 at 2:20 am |
  7. Kathy

    when I saw the news I wasnt surprised. Dr. Tannous was my Doctor 15 years ago when I was pregnant, he put me through hell, him and his wife, Dr. Levada. First I had preclamsia durring my pregnany and they never helped me, I almost died and my baby too. Then after I had an emergency c-section at 7 months by another doctor, I was very very sick and Tannous just laughed and said its nothing, well again I almost died , I had cancer and was in my last stage, I had a year of chemo and radiation with a premie. Dr. Tannous is the worst Doctor on this earth and his wife too. Dr. Levada. They should not be given the honor to be called Doctors!!!!!!!!

    May 24, 2008 at 2:10 am |
  8. Heather

    Where are these "pharmacies" getting the drugs? Are these American pharmaceutical companies providing an astonishing amount of perscription drugs to a small town drug store where the population is less than the weekly order? Are these drugs American via Mexico? This story invokes more questions than answers. If my suspicions are true; should the drug companies not be held accountable?

    May 24, 2008 at 2:06 am |
  9. Allana

    I went to check this out after seeing the report, linepharmacy.com is a supplement page now, but I found 4 different sites selling anything from cardiac medications to muscle relaxers and they did not ask for a prescription! I did find that the sites that sell drugs from Canada require a faxed copy of their prescription, so Americans are doing this to other Americans for money?

    May 24, 2008 at 1:54 am |
  10. Kayla Ping

    My best friend Ryan Kelly committed suicide with his mother four years ago due to a drug overdose. The pills were ordered online and delivered right to their front door without a prescription. I can't even begin to describe the painfull ordeal. Even though it was nearly four years ago I still am mad that he was able to do that. This is a huge issue and I'm so glad that the secrets of internet drug dealing is finally getting revealed. I am twenty years old and never imagined my friend not by my side.

    May 24, 2008 at 1:33 am |
  11. linda seaton

    Nina – Let's get going on our quest. Enough is enough. Let's find out just how many others are sick and tired of television's drug endorsing.

    Magazines used to adorn my table tops. No more. So long as ads are illustrating young girls 'needing' something to correct themselves, there will not be any of those irresponsible and unethical pages in my home.

    There are hundreds of thousands of people all around the world who do not prescribe to our western careless and casual use of drugs.
    They heal by alternative and natural means. So why are Americans [the supposed leaders in civilization] promoting drug dependence to adults, at the very same time that elementary, middle and high schools are teaching anti-drug use?

    Chidren are smart. They know this is contradictory. Drugs are drugs. You can't be successful in teaching anything without consistency in message and demonstration.

    While we have been blogging, several commercials relating to drugs have run.

    May 24, 2008 at 12:54 am |
  12. Michael Torres

    HOLD IT!!!

    I am uninsured and uninsurable at less than $1400 per month.
    If I order prescriptions locally it costs me $800++ per month.
    I order online and it is only $250 per month. Less than 1/3 the cost.

    If you take away my ability to order online, I will no longer be able to afford my prescriptions and will die.

    I am too young and make too much to quality for government assistance, yet don't make enough to pay my living expenses and pay for insurance. I am not alone, there are 40 million people falling throught the cracks in the US.

    Drug companies take advantage of this situation and charge people like me into bankruptcy.

    If there are going to be reforms, they MUST first address the issue of affordable medical care and affordable prescriptions for everyone.

    The people most likely to benefit from national legislation are those who already overcharge us...who are looking at ways to shut the door on affordable options....only in the United States are their drugs so highly priced. I have a cousin in Indonesia whose prescriptions are only 20% of US prices. Same drugs, same packaging.

    What about us?

    May 24, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  13. Donna - Destin, Florida


    Look for a Pain Management Clinic or Specialist in your area. They can help you.


    My heart breaks for you... losing children the worst thing we as parents can experience.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  14. EJ

    Editor’s note: Read a report on this investigation at CNN.com/health, and check out CNN producer David Fitzpatrick’s blog on how online drugs affected his family.

    I read that blog just now and it morphed into a totally weird soap opera.

    I also don't believe that any of the reporters were shocked that you can buy prescription drugs online. If you didn't know that (as investigative reporters) then you have been living in a bubble.

    I guess this was solely a ratings story.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  15. Donna - Destin, Florida

    Show us the dead bodies....

    My son is dead. He was 18, my only child. He was not a known user & had no reputation of using. His autopsy indicated that he had no alcohol in his system for at least 8 days prior to his death. He took prescription pills one night, got sick and chocked to his death on a hot dog he had eaten earlier.

    There is one of those dead bodies.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:49 pm |

    A very interesting show that highlights the huge problem we are facing with prescription drug use in both Canada and the United States.

    An interesting bit of additional information is that the same system you have described for ordering drugs over the internet can also be used to order a signed medical prescription for "Medical Marijuana" Check it out.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
  17. linda seaton

    Never a supporter of any artificial means of recovery, I researched spiritual healing and came upon Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures (by Mary Baker Eddy).

    There I found the absolute truth of our very existence. Once you know you are God's [your higher power's] image and likeness, you begin to excavate all you've been taught to believe and you discover how natural healing really is.

    This nation's 'health care' in general, is a mockery. Health has little to do with it. Profits are the sole motivator. Note: There are certainly some honorable doctors. But our world is sadly changing. When a doctor is relied on as 'God', we weaken our own natural means to heal ourselves, as God gave us the power to do.

    Mrs. Eddy's book, accompanied with your Bible, heals the sick, as surely as the sun brightens the universe. That ,one can rely upon.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
  18. Denise

    Show us the dead bodies? Check the medical examiners' records. Are they reporting these deaths to anyone? After my sister's death, we discovered she had been receiving 90 pills per week from the internet (butalbital). She had become addicted. While I was clearing out her apartment, the phone rang and it was one of the pharmacies, calling to find out if she wanted another refill! Something needs to be done. The bodies are there. Should the credit card companies share any responsibility here?

    May 23, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  19. Erin Ferrell

    After watching Anderson's story on prescription drug abuse and the internet. What concerns me is there are some of us that rely on these drugs with severe and chronic pain. I myself was hit head on by a drunk 17 year old that did meth all night and drank, the result was me having 2 cervical spine surgeries with bone grafts and ending up with cervical radiculopathy, stenosis, massive headaches, numbness, sleeping with 6 pillows, never sleeping more then 2 hours without having to change position and that constant feeling of someone sticking an ice pick in the back of your neck. I didn't ask for this. I have tried every muscle relaxant and pain med and therapy.
    what I have found is taking a soma every 8 hours (3times a day) and a vicodin twice a day takes some of the edge off and allows me to function better in every day life. Does that make me an addict?
    I don't know, My Physician knows me well and says not. I don't want to take any more then this but this is what I do take. It seems so unfair to the people that really suffer to feel guilty and that were all
    equal to a heroin addict etc... My Physician recently left her practice
    and I was not aware ahead of time. I now feel it will be hard for me to get a new MD to continue my care. I don't want another surgery that I will probably need for another herniated disk so now I'm stuck between a rock and a hard spot. The abusive addicts have created a problem for some of us that need to take these meds. For those of us taking them like the RX says it just isn't fair to label everyone using these meds.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  20. Richard

    I'm glad that they showed the wide spread problem of drug abuse and getting drugs easily online, but was disapointed that the story wasn't longer. I hope they continue a large segment on what doctors and the pharmacy as well as BIG PHARM are doing to make the big bucks off of you and your family. I was prescribed benzos years ago for insomnia and when i needed more because they weren't working anymore my doctor pulled me off cold turkey! This is one drug you can not do that with. As a result i was left with 10 years of "protractive withdrawals" and became isolated with many symptoms until a decade later when i was coached to take several other medications based on a false diagnosis which barely worked until i was convinced to go back on a benzo again. Then for the first time i was much better, but never normal and always needing more drug. Life has been a living hell ever since and 25 years later i am still trying to get off of these drugs that i thought i would only be on for a short period many years ago. My life is over now at the ripe old age of 47 due to doctors who push drugs that are permanently addictive and keep you in the dark until it's too late! Caution: Don't take benzodiazapines, EVER!

    May 23, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  21. Mahaley Bowles

    "Not My Child Syndrome" is the reason why pill parties are a growing fad that is deadly. Underage drinking and drug use is not getting the exposure needed to save our future.
    – Mahaley in Jersey City, New Jersey

    May 23, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  22. Noor Mohidee

    I am from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I just watched the Anderson Cooper 360 show on prescription drugs that are offered and bought through the internet.

    I receive 20 or 30 e-mails a day (all from the US) offering all kinds of dangerous prescription drugs. I know all these drugs are dangerous and some are addictive and habit-forming as I have worked in the pharmacetical industry for almost 50 years. I really do not know how these pharmacies in the US got my e-mail address.

    The US Government should do something to get rid of these illegal pharmacies that are being offered through the internet. These culprits are in the US as all the e-mails I receive are coming from the US.

    Noor Mohideen
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    May 23, 2008 at 11:12 pm |
  23. Nina

    I'm wondering where do these online pharmacies get these drugs? What involvement does the pharmacuetical industry have? Wheneve I go to a Dr. there are at least 3 drug reps offering free drug samples and free lunches for the clinic staff. As someone with numerous health issues, doctors are always trying to push the latest, most expensive drug on me whether I need it or not. The FDA and drug industry must take some responsibility. Also, I'm very annoyed at all the drug ads on TV. They make it sound like popping a pill will solve any problem you might develop.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  24. linda seaton

    I've been saying it for years. Drugs are BIG business and they have little to do with healing, anymore.

    We got rid of alcohol and cigarette television commerials and we'd better rid our televisions and computers with them right now, if we want to protect our children.

    I am so offended by the pushing of drugs on my television each evening, while I tune in to see politics. Viagra repeats itself so many times, it is sickening. CNN is supporting this more than any other network. Having to keep remote in hand and ready for 'mute' is so annoying.

    So don't play innocent and investigator in this one, Anderson. Your network is the culprit. Start there.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  25. doug

    I did not agree with AC, I am 64 and I order my meds online. i save thousands each year

    May 23, 2008 at 11:08 pm |
  26. shawn

    What was the website again??? Can anyone tell me?

    May 23, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  27. Donna - Destin, Florida

    Something has to be done to stop these Online Pharms..

    Addictions and Substance Abuse

    From between 1992 and 2003, prescription drug abuse increased 94%;
    Alarmingly, use among youth (12-17 year olds) increased 212%
    Prescriptions drugs now 4th most abused substances in America (behind only marijuana, alcohol and tobacco).
    Abuse of prescription drugs among 12 to 13 year-olds now exceeds marijuana use.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  28. Cameron

    As for the lady whose husband overdosed from taking 8 to 9 pills nightly of Soma, while I have sympathy for her losing a loved one. RED FLAG–regardless where her husband obtained prescription drugs via online or through a doctor. He was taking 8 to 9 pills nightly. He was an addict and would have gotten the drugs one way or the other.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  29. J Doe

    Hi Anderson,

    I am a former employee of a web site which was shut by authorities some years ago. Xpress-phamarcy.com was shut down however its parent company continues to operate. People are able to call their 800 customer service lines and order any drug they want. Most of those call centers are located in the Dominican Republic from where telemarketers contact people all around the United States.

    These companies purchase patients private information from drug stores that these individuals ordered their original prescriptions.

    One of the reasons why congress has not passed a national law to prohibit such sales is because they receive money from those companies.

    The investigation that you aired this evening is incomplete. The situation is much deeper and darker than how it was portrayed in your news cast this evening.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  30. Candy Kelly

    Four years ago, my daughter and 17-year-old grandson ordered Elavil from an online pharmacy and used those drugs to end their lives. We chased down the M.D. who signed the prescription (located in North Carolina) and the owners of the pharmacy (located in Florida) and the shipment from New Jersey to my daughter's home in California. We have spent over four years working with the DEA and the No.Carolina Med Board, where the so-called doctor's licanse was immediately revoked. All of them were indicted by the DEA last year for illegal drug trafficking and the trial will begin in a couple of weeks. Our civil case is with the insurance company for the pharmacy owners and we are in the final stages of settlement. This greedy drug pusher was writing over 1000 prescriptions a day and got paid $3 for each.

    May 23, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  31. Rebecca A

    As an ER nurse (my husband is also a pharmacist) we have seen a dramatic increase over the past few years in the number of people addicted to Lorcet, Xanax, Vicodin, etc. Not only are people getting them over the internet, but from several different doctors at once. It's rediculous the alot of these people are on Medicaid and Medicare as well. I personally have seen deaths as a result of accidental and intentional overdosage of these "recreational" medications. If they can't get them, then they come into the ER wanting inpatient rehab. When they don't have insurance or have medicaid or medicare, they are held until there is a bed in an inpatient rehab facility. Sometimes this takes weeks as they are all full. Then after their release, they end up back in the ER again in a few weeks or months addicted again because these drugs are too readily available. Seniors are also selling their legal presciptions to supplement their SS checks! Crazy!

    May 23, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  32. Beel

    So you are just catching on CNN?
    I find it ridiculous that because someone
    that works for you has come across a personal
    experience that it now makes the news.
    This has been going on for decades and you don't
    need the internet to be suddenly aware.

    I'm tired of insular reporting.
    I am astonished at your astonishment.


    What happened to the real newshounds?

    You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Looking good on camera and being told what to say
    is a cop out and does not constitute news.
    Isn't that what you get paid for?

    May 23, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  33. cynthia

    I have chronic lower back pain, and yes...I have bought the drug called Ultram over the internet several times...and once it did come from Roots Pharmacy. You have to take responsibility for yourself and your actions.

    Further more....in Belize you can go into the pharmacy, and get most anything you need without a prescription. I bought Activan there, which is for nerves and sleep.

    May 23, 2008 at 10:38 pm |
  34. Donna

    Please feel free to contact me about the Prescription Monitoring Programs.... I have pushed both the Florida House and Senate for this Program to be implemented here, thus far it has not.

    May 23, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  35. Donna

    Its about time someone reports on internet pharms. These Dr.'s should be arrested, everyone one of them are drug dealers.
    This, among other reasons points to a program I have advocated for 2 years. A Prescription Monitoring Program. Many states have implemented such a PMP, but others have not for various reasons.
    At least 35 states have created a prescription drug monitoring program or enacted enabling legislation to create one.
    Florida is now the most populous state without a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, and is seen as a key state in preventing drug abuse; our legislative efforts are being watched nationally.

    Prescriptions drugs now 4th most abused substances in America (behind only marijuana, alcohol and tobacco).

    Prescription Drugs, like illegal drugs kill and sometimes all it takes is one time.

    I know... my son is now one of those statistics.

    At least 35 states have created a prescription drug monitoring program or enacted enabling legislation to create one.
    Florida is now the most populous state without a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, and is seen as a key state in preventing drug abuse; our legislative efforts are being watched nationally.

    May 23, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  36. Annie Kate

    If an Internet sites will sell prescription drugs with no valid prescription what is to stop them from selling people a placebo instead of the real drug? There are so many ways that the people who use this market can be taken advantage of. I'm looking forward to this report.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 23, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  37. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    I have to wonder how much of the drug companies being able to advertise their meds have contributed to this problem? I remember a time when you had to wait for your doctor to suggest a prescribed medicine, but now many patients are asking their doctors (or others) for the drugs they see being advertised.

    May 23, 2008 at 7:58 pm |
  38. Tom

    I support Mail Order Pharmacies which are distinctly different from Internet Pharmacies. The HUGE difference is they require ALL patients to go see a registered doctor and obtain a valid prescription. Without a prescription, there is no order. I know that it is a great option for patients that cannot attend a local pharmacy and those who are looking to save some money. At the end of the day, it is buyer beware- so be careful. If it is too good to be true... more often it is.

    May 23, 2008 at 6:45 pm |
  39. Sharon from Indy

    The illegal internet pharmacy has evolved into the likes of an illegal street vendor that shuffles drugs on street corners. But now the shuffle is done through the internet placing not only vulnerable patients at risk but also those who become addicted to the prescription drugs.

    Also, insurance companies are becoming more demanding about using generic or "other medications in the same drug family" because of lower cost, so some patients are find alternative ways to access what is needed to meet their needs.

    If hundreds are willing to go to Mexico and Canada to purchase prescription drugs, why is so surprising that the illegal prescription drug market is blossoming?

    May 23, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  40. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    I think that doctors need to not hand these drugs out like candy.

    They did that with antibiotics int he 80"s and now we are stuck with MDR (Multiple Drug Resistant) strains of bacteria....super bugs.

    You can't "just take a pill and it will all go away." There is no such thing in life! There is no easy way or miracle cure like that.

    There needs to be greater education for society about the use of drugs prescribed and their dangers....we assume that if the doctor prescribes it, it is safe! NOT SO AT ALL.

    I hate Western medicine for this reason, they shove Pharma drugs to you without thinking it over.

    They need to see the patient regularly and keep tabs on them if they prescribe these things.

    I know a few people who have become addicted to opioid based pain killers because these "Dr. Feelgoods" want a big posh palace.

    More needs to be done to explain the dangers of combining them as well.

    May 23, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  41. EJ

    To avoid having to go to the ER or doctor's office to get a prescription I have definitely bought prescription drugs online. I do not have health insurance and there are times when I decided the online order was cheaper than the hundreds or thousands of dollars I would have to pay if I visited a hospital or Dr's office.

    I have purchased antibiotics mainly – I think the one I purchased this year was amoxicilin.

    Please tell us uninsured what we are supposed to do if it is too expensive to go to a dr and u know (regardless of any discount) you are going to be stuck with ER bills from the emergency physicians, the radiology dept (if necessary) and any labs.

    I don't know how else to do it and would have to do the same in the future. I actually had pneumonia a couple months back and I tried to get the z-pak online but the only thing is it was too close to the weekend and I could not get it next day. I ended up going to the ER and even with the unemployed/uninsured discount – I still owe a lot of money. I am frustrated!

    I WELCOME having the choice to buy online. Perhaps the type of medication is really the issue. I obviously don't buy narcotics. My problem is no money & no health insurance.

    Others who can afford anything – the problem of addiction & feeding habits come into play. (but that's not everyone – some rich folks just don't want to go to the doctor)

    If you want to talk to me about that – please send me an email!

    May 23, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  42. Mello Doug NM

    Drugs are easily found if you want them. I am sorry but there is somthing called personality responsibility. There are places to get help. And, if you have a love one who is addicted and do not do what it takes then you are enabling them. That is not love. Lots of people have, and live through pain, but not everyone becomes addicted.

    May 23, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  43. Michael, NC

    I agree. I get email after email on my "junk email account" that I set up for all of my subscription information trying to sell me Cialis, Viagra, anti-depressants, anything you could ever want, all without a prescription. I don't know how they get my information, but they have it and never stop sending.
    Deborah-good point, sorry to hear about your battle, I know it's tough... 🙁
    Jason-congratulations on quitting the Vicodin, that's a tough one, as it is super accessible and effective. Good luck.
    Dominic-I don't know why people put comments like yours up. I mean, if people wanted to learn how to build a bomb, they would look it up. Period. They wouldn't randomly get the idea from CNN's site. Drug sellers and buyers know ALL about where to get their supply, so nobody was harmed due to this post.

    May 23, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  44. Janice

    My spouse , age 58 died 3 years ago from buying internet drugs !! I still receive phone calls from many many drug company's, to place refill for the scripts. Never once was a doc called , all they asked for was a doc's name and then the info. was made up! The drugs we very expensive, Oh and I had no clue of what was going on, never knew you could by internet drug . Thank you for doing this story !!

    May 23, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  45. Jason

    Several years ago, I was addicted to Vicodin. I easily ordered it online by answering a few simples questions. After thousands of dollars and multiple stints in rehab, I'm finally clean

    May 23, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  46. Michelle

    Some so called king pins of internet drug dealing have been sent to prision for their wrong doings. One in particular is Vincent Chhabra and his sister Sabina who both did time in a federal prision in Florida. Vincent lived in a 7 mil house in Golden Beach Florida until the DEA and FBI arrested him about 4 years ago. After serving his 33 months Mr. Chhabra is now free and living in Southern Florda. His time dealing drugs on the internet brought in at least $125 mil.

    May 23, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  47. deborah,OH

    I understand the problem of prescriptions on the web. You really have no idea of where it came from or ANYTHING about it!
    I have relatively good health insurance, thank goodness! BUT, I suffer from SEVERE chronic pain after 2 bouts with cancer: 2006, breast cancer, & 2007, colon cancer. I have been 'lucky' in that they were both contained & operable. I did have a lot of chemo & radiation, however.
    My point is, my pain is CHRONIC & SEVERE, & I would go to almost any option to get relief. Without insurance, the online script service would be tempting. VERY DANGEROUS, but very tempting.
    So maybe, our health care system, flawed as it is, is at fault also.

    May 23, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  48. gary lee, from san luis obispo, ca.

    sellig any kind of drugs where there is no watch dog such as the FDA. is a VERY BAD IDEA!. not to mention the fact that people, including children, are able to get presrciption pain killers thru the mail.
    just who in the hell is prescribing these drugs ANYWAY!!!

    May 23, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  49. Dominic Haberman Hattiesburg, MS

    I can't wait until you report on how easy it is to build a bomb over the internet! Thanks for the website linepharmacy.com. Now I can try to overdose too! That's what I love about news networks. In the interest of ratings, you expose potential security and health hazards to the general public with unecessarily detailed instructions. Thanks again CNN!

    May 23, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  50. Cindy

    You can get drugs any where if you look hard enough...prescription or not. There are even doctors that will give you things if you ask and don't even need it. The internet is just being added to a long list of ways that people who are willing and able can get any drug that they want. And really how can it be stopped when there is no way to regulate the net.

    May 23, 2008 at 12:12 pm |
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