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MUSC Researchers Concerned About Online Drug Availability
Date:9/14/2009

Web availability of antibiotics furthers problems with antibiotic-resistant bacteria

CHARLESTON, S.C., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to MUSC researchers, antibiotics are widely available for purchase on the Internet without a prescription, despite efforts to control antibiotic-resistant bacteria as a result of misuse of these drugs.

Using a keyword search of "purchase antibiotics without a prescription" and "online" on the top two Internet search engines, Google and Yahoo, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) researchers found 138 unique vendors selling drugs without a prescription. Of those vendors, 36 percent sold antibiotics without a prescription, a practice that is both illegal and potentially dangerous, said MUSC Department of Family Medicine professor Arch G. Mainous, III, Ph.D. Sixty-four percent provide an online diagnosis and prescription without a physical exam or ongoing relationship with a doctor, a practice that is considered inconsistent with appropriate medical care.

"We recommend expanding efforts to control antibiotic resistance in our communities, beyond educating physicians about when to prescribe antibiotics," Mainous said. "We need education directed to patients and the community, as well as increased regulation and enforcement of existing regulations."

Penicillins (94 percent), macrolides (96 percent), fluoroquinolones (62 percent) and cephalospoins (57 percent) were found on the majority of these sites. Nearly all (99 percent) the antibiotics found were shipped to the United States with a mean delivery time of eight days. The study, entitled Availability of Antibiotics for Purchase Without a Prescription on the Internet, has been published in the September/October 2009 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine ('/>"/>

SOURCE Medical University of South Carolina
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