FDA Issues Warning To Online Giants Regarding Opioid Sales


They’ll be a new addition for social media content tips, in the wake of America’s opioid crisis; to not allow online pharmacies to sell opioids. The Food and Drug Administration is calling on the titans of the internet, like Facebook, Google, Reddit, and Yahoo to deal with online pharmacies using the internet to sell opioids, which has been blamed for being a major reason behind the opioid overdose crisis plaguing the US.

According to the FDA’s Chief Scott Gottlieb says that internet firms weren’t countering the illegal opioid listings on the net, which he said during a speech to the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit on the 4th of April 2018, with former president Bill Clinton speaking after him.

Gottlieb even went so far to give out names, like “Bing, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter and Yahoo”, calling them out at failing to stop the illegal sales of opioid drugs. Fentanyl, an opioid 50 times stronger than herion, is now commonly found in Drug Enforcement Administration seizures of overseas cargo with narcotics. Gottlieb says that internet firms are allowing and facilitating the sales and shipments of narcotics thanks to “Bitcoin, Western Union, MoneyGram, among others.

With social media content tips having to flex with the new issues besieging social media and firms, with the recent privacy violation concerns, as well as new hearings asking for increased oversight. A recently concluded US Senate investigation discovered the identity of at least seven people that have died as a result of illicit fentanyl purchased from online pharmacies.

Data from the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies (ASOP) says that there are around 35,000 digital pharmacies operating online at any time, with 96% of which operating illegally, with many selling opioids without valid prescriptions.

According to a researcher from the University of California, these illegal sales are headed for social media due to them being less policed than search results. Part of why internet firms have been reluctant when it comes to policing these things, due to concerns that it might lead to everything getting policed.

Gottlieb says that he would be meeting with the leaders of the internet titans in the near future in order to talk about how to deal with illegal online pharmaceutical sales, with another meeting the next year to make sure everything is on track. In particular, he called on search engines to display drug safety tips alongside results relating to opioid and drugs. He says that he believes that the tech community is now understanding that the people want more than assurance, they want action.