Social media gives users access to health news and opinions like never before. This has its perks—informed patients, support groups, and more. It also has its downfalls, like our recently discussed Cyberchondria. And the latest news—it has given rogue pharmacies the opportunity to market illicit and prescription drugs online.
The International Narcotics Control Board reported on March 6 that these illegal pharmacies are publicizing their websites using social media to start up conversations and then link them to their site, according to a 2011 report. The majority of these pharmacies are based in India, but they are also found in the U.S., China, and Poland.
The INCB reports over 12,000 “internationally controlled substances” seized in the postal system in 2010. They are calling for governments to shut down the pharmacies, and they have published guidelines for governments to help prevent the illegal drug sales via the Internet.
These Internet pharmacies put people at risk of dangerous products, particularly young people.
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