New Law May Crush Online Pharmacies
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The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has recently prompted fears that the government and service providers will be able to censor content and even shut down websites that break sweeping conditions. Last week Wikipedia voluntarily went off line for 24 hours, accompanied by "black out" protests from dozens of other major sites, including Google. But some contend that SOPA can reduce risks to public health. In recent years obtaining prescription drugs including opiate painkillers illegally from online overseas pharmacies has become ever easier. “Kids today are very creative and have access to a wide array of illicit drugs.” says Dr. Kevin Hill, an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Not only do they know how to get drugs locally, they’re very technologically savvy and that can create a problem with more dangerous medications flooding into communities.” Section 105 of SOPA act would give service providers free reign to close down online pharmacies that are deemed to pose a risk to public health. But while many SOPA advocates will argue this virtue, few will concede that many online pharmacies provide an important service, offering essential prescription drugs far below US market price, thereby granting access to millions of uninsured, low income Americans.