ILLEGAL INTERNET PHARMACY RAIDED IN SOUTH AFRICA

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The Department of Health has confirmed that a criminal investigation is under way against a Tableview man who allegedly sold drugs for two or three times their SA value on six Internet sites, still functioning today, to overseas customers with an Internet "prescription", writes Carel Alberts of ITWeb.

Police and health inspectors raided an office in Tableview on Monday last week, reportedly seizing assorted pharmaceuticals, including schedule five drugs, and receipts reflecting millions of rands in transactions.

www.pharma-drug.com

The site requires users to log in and fill in a questionnaire to request prescription drugs. Once the request is posted, it comes back with an online "prescription" with a scanned signature, and on the strength of this, the drugs are dispensed, says Coote. "Possibly the doctor and the pharmacist are working together."

The drugs on sale are all highly controlled, either psychoactive drugs or painkillers, sold for two or three times their SA street value, Coote continues. "We got numerous complaints and have been processing these. In addition, we’re also working with US customs officials to quell this."

Willie Kriel of the voluntary Pharmaceutical Society classifies this phenomenon as a "huge problem, both internationally and locally", but also as a complicated issue, dependent for resolution on regional drug control measures.

"In SA we have far stricter legislation after 2 May this year. It has been legislated that all drugs received and dispensed must be recorded in a register by persons receiving and dispensing in a quarterly balance. Details of the drug, the recipient and the recipient’s address must be recorded. If one is discovered to be in possession of a scheduled substance, you must be able to prove a prescription and where it was obtained."