Diet Pills: Law and order
Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 1:27 pm
Fighting to stop illegal Internet drug sales
Toward the end of the twentieth century, the United States and Thailand tackled the international problem of illegal Internet drug sales. A United Nations (U.N.) board also called for action.
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) worked with officials in Thailand to shut down three online pharmacies that illegally sold substances containing controlled drugs such as phentermine, a diet pill. Internet shopping is legal. However, under federal law, a prescription is needed to buy controlled drugs.
The Internet pharmacies sold drugs without a prescription and sent most of their products to the United States. Authorities in the United States became aware of the trafficking because packages and letters containing illegal drugs constantly arrived from Thailand. Drug addicts accounted for many of the customers.
With authorities from both countries working together, Thai officials shut down three Internet pharmacies during November of 1999 through January of 2000.
That effort succeeded. However, the U.N. in February of 2001 warned that not all countries had laws that could be used to stop Internet drug trafficking. The U.N.’s International Narcotics Control Board called on countries to adopt laws to halt Internet abuse such as the sale of illegal drugs by online pharmacies and drug stores.
In its annual report, the board said that “a limited number of countries” had taken legal action to stop Internet misuse. The U.N. board estimated that approximately 600 million people used the Internet in 2001.
Another warning about online pharmacies came from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA cautioned the public against buying medical products from a foreign country. In most cases, it would be illegal to import those drugs, the FDA said. Consumers faced the risk of being swindled. If that happened, the government could do “very little” to help get the money back.