Taking the Physician Out of "Physician Shopping": A Case Series of Clinical Problems Associated With Internet Purchases of Medication

Lineberry, Timothy W.; Bostwick, J. Michael
August 2004
Mayo Clinic Proceedings;Aug2004, Vol. 79 Issue 8, p1031
Academic Journal
In the United States, psychoactive prescription medications rank second only to marijuana as drugs of abuse (if tobacco and alcohol are discounted). Physician shopping—visiting multiple physicians simply to procure prescriptions—has been a traditional method for acquiring drugs illicitly. As community-based efforts to curtail physician shopping have expanded, drug abusers have turned Increasingly to the internet. Illegal internet pharmacies, increasing rapidly in number during the past decade and requiring neither prescription nor physician oversight, offer minimal interference to obtaining drugs. With no physician involved, patients cease to be patients. Instead, they become consumers able to buy prescription medications, even controlled substances, from anonymous providers offering no ongoing treatment relationship and taking no responsibility for the drugs dispensed. When complications occur, these consumers become patients, turning back to the traditional medical system to manage overdoses, addictions, and drug adverse effects and interactions. We present a case series illustrating some of the medical problems that resulted from drugs bought on-line illegally.


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