Banned, deadly drugs still sold over internet

Online drug stores are still selling prescription drugs even though the medications have been deemed deadly by government agencies and banned from several countries including the United States. Drugs currently available on these sites include generic versions of the painkiller propoxyphene, known by the brand names Darvocet and Darvon, as well as generic versions of the weight loss medication sibutramine, known as Meridia.

Propoxyphene was banned from the United States market by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late last year after studies showed that the painkiller put users at risk for dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities. Propoxyphene-containing drugs have been on the market for more than 50 years and had become one of the most prescribed drugs to treat mild to moderate pain.

Propoxyphene is also highly addictive and is easily abused and misused. Those risk factors led several other countries to ban the medication years before the United States followed suit.

Sibutramine was also banned by the FDA late last year after studies showed the drug increased the risk for serious cardiovascular events including heart attacks and stroke. Sibutramine was approved in 1997 for weight loss and maintenance of weight loss in obese people, as well as in certain people with other risks for heart disease.

The online pharmaceutical stores require customers to agree to waivers that state they have “had a satisfactory and sufficient physical examination and a medical history evaluation by my personal family physician within the last 6 months who is available and whom I agree to contact for any necessary local follow-up care and intervention, in case I have any difficulties, possible complications, or questions.”

The waiver also has customers agree that “I have been fully informed by appropriately trained health care personnel and understand the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of the prescription drug(s) I may request, I have studied written or internet materials on these drugs including the websites and links that offer in-depth material.”

However, both propoxyphene and sibutramine are extremely dangerous and are no longer allowed to be marketed or sold in the United States. Buyer beware!