Cover: Prescription Medication Abuse and Illegitimate Internet-Based Pharmacies

Prescription Medication Abuse and Illegitimate Internet-Based Pharmacies

Published In: Annals of Internal Medicine, v. 155, no. 12, Dec. 2011, p. 848-850, W-270

Posted on on January 01, 2011

by Anupam B. Jena, Dana P. Goldman, Susan E. Foster, Joseph A. Califano

Abuse of controlled prescription medications in the United States exceeds that of all illicit drugs combined except marijuana and has grown considerably in the past decade. Although available through traditional channels, controlled prescription medications can also be purchased on the Internet without a prescription. This issue has gained the attention of federal regulators, law enforcement, and the media, but physician awareness of the problem is scarce. This article describes the nature of the problem and its magnitude, discusses the challenges to federal and private efforts to combat illegitimate online pharmacies, and outlines strategies for physicians to recognize and minimize the unwarranted effects of the availability of these medications on the Internet.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.