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Illegal Pharmacies Target Social Media Users Worldwide

The head of the International Narcotics Control Board calls for action against illegal online pharmacies.

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By Valerie Tejeda

02/29/12

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Users of sites like Facebook and Youtube are being targeted by illegal internet pharmacies, warns Hamid Ghodse, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). He explained at a news conference in London yesterday how many of these pharmacies use social media outlets to draw people to chatrooms and their own websites, where they can market mail order drugs. "Disturbingly, illegal Internet pharmacies have started to use social media to publicize their websites, which can put large audiences at risk of dangerous products," he speaking of both prescription and illicit drugs. The INCB, which monitors the implementation of UN drug conventions, is urging governments to shut down these rogue pharmacies, and to seize substances that have been illegally ordered online. "Key aspects of illegal Internet pharmacies' activities include smuggling their products to consumers, finding hosting space for their websites and convincing consumers that they are, in fact, legitimate," notes the INCB in it's 2011 annual report. In 2010, more than 12,000 deliveries of "internationally controlled substances" were seized from the postal system. India, identified as the leading country of origin, accounted for an incredible 58% of those seizures—with China, Poland and the US also being identified as major countries of origin.

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