Digital drug dealers hiding in a regular (web)site – InsideSources

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The pandemic has driven much of our lives online. Now, with just a click of the mouse, we can do our work, order our groceries and go to the doctor. Criminals have also gone digital, exploiting the convenience and anonymity of technology and our fears to peddle fake cures and false hope to American consumers of all ages. Search “COVID-19” online today, and you may be inundated with offers of fake vaccination cards, fraudulent test kits, and the latest fictional coronavirus cures. The Internet is a virtual storefront for drug dealers, fraudsters and scammers. And it’s open for business 24/7.

According to a recent national survey conducted by the ASOP Global Foundation, 42% of Americans now buy drugs online, an increase from 2020. And that trend isn’t going away: 64% say they plan to continue to buy prescription drugs online post pandemic. ends.

Yet consumers have widespread misconceptions about the structural safety nets in place to protect them from bad actors online. The same national survey shows that nearly half of Americans incorrectly say they believe all websites offering healthcare services and prescription drugs are approved by the FDA or state regulators. Nearly three quarters also believe that verified and safe websites selling prescription drugs should appear first in search results or be clearly identified as legitimate, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is alarming to healthcare professionals and consumer advocates, as 1 in 5 Americans rely exclusively on online searches and social media platforms to find the online pharmacies they visit.

A transparent Internet is a secure Internet. For too long, criminals have enjoyed anonymity and lax enforcement online. Ninety-five percent of the approximately 35,000 online pharmacies worldwide operate illegally and the drugs they sell can be deadly. Internet registries and registrars are responsible for creating domain name extensions such as .com, .edu, and .org and selling them to the public. Their inability to control themselves fosters an atmosphere of anarchy that allows criminals to thrive. Domain name companies often take no action unless compelled to do so by the courts when websites violate their terms of use, repeatedly violate these rules, or refuse to take corrective action in response to abuse complaints.

It is up to federal policymakers to pass and enforce common-sense legislation to protect American consumers online. Recently, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), and Rep. David McKinley (RW.V.) introduced the bipartisan field Reform for Unlawful Drug Sellers (DRUGS) Act to make the internet safer by finally keeping the domain name industry’s feet under fire. Senate Bill S.3399 and House Bill 6352 require registrars and registries to remove websites that openly and illegally offer prescription drugs, controlled substances, and unregistered medical products. approved.

Congress needs to address many pressing issues in 2022, but passing the DRUGS Act is a no-brainer. The DRUGS Act would have an immediate and global impact on consumer safety. By holding registrars and registries accountable for stopping illegal websites, we can ensure that young people, old people and everyone else can buy the medicines they need safely from online pharmacies. legitimate line. It’s time to inoculate consumers against registries and registrars who seek to profit at the expense of the health of American consumers.

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