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Date Posted: 21:52:03 10/24/03 Fri
Author: Billy
Subject: Drug consumers warned of internet rogues

Drug consumers warned of internet rogues

BELLEVUE, Wash, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The nation's largest online pharmacy, Drugstore.com, is warning consumers about dangers of buying medication from rouge internet sites.

Consumers have been sold diluted, contaminated and counterfeit drugs from illegal offshore Internet pharmacies that "pose a serious threat to the public health and safety," the Bellevue, Wash., company said in a Washington Post report.

Drugstore.com, with annual sales of $194 million, plans to take a leadership role on the issue and work with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy "to close the door on illegal online pharmacies."

The company says increasing numbers of domestic and offshore Web sites deluge consumers with e-mails and ads for Vicodin, hydrocodone, Xanax, Valium, and other controlled substances.

Many of the offshore sites reportedly offer dangerous drugs without prescriptions. Others are said to work with middlemen who link customers with doctors who churn out thousands of prescriptions after brief telephone calls.

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