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Multibillion-Dollar Black Drug Market Getting Bigger

Most of us have known that the drug solution is a fatally flawed paradigm, so it is no surprise to read about the abuse that has occured in this area. This system is/was an accident waiting to happen. A year-long investigation by the Washington Post has done a wonderful job in exposing the abuse that has recently occured. In the past few years a growing number of popular drugs have been diverted into a multibillion-dollar shadow market. Crooks have introduced counterfeit pharmaceuticals into the mainstream drug chain.

  • Networks of middlemen, felons and other opportunists operating out of storefronts and garages fraudulently obtain deeply discounted medicines intended for nursing homes and hospices. The diverters have stored drugs in U-Hauls and car trunks in blazing heat, stuffed them in plastic sandwich bags and traded them in a daisy chain of transactions with no purpose except to enrich the traders. Those drugs are ultimately sold to unwitting patients.
  • The diverters pave the way for counterfeiters who use pill-punching machines and special inks to produce near-perfect copies of the most popular and expensive drugs. Some fakes have passed undetected through wholesalers to the shelves of retail pharmacies.
  • Pharmaceutical peddlers take advantage of lax regulations to move millions of prescription drugs into the United States from Canada, Mexico and elsewhere. Overwhelmed customs workers inspect less than one percent of an estimated 2 million packages containing medicine shipped into the country each year. Virtually all of those shipments are illegal, yet the Food and Drug Administration fails to enforce its own import regulations, saying it lacks the resources to intercept the illegal packages.
  • Rogue medical merchants set up Internet pharmacies that serve as pipelines for narcotics, selling to drug abusers and others who never see doctors in person or undergo tests. The sellers move tens of millions of doses of hydrocodone, Xanax, Valium, Ritalin, OxyContin and other controlled substances. Scores of customers have become addicted, overdosed or died.

Washington Post October 19, 2003 Free Registration Required

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