Saturday, August 05, 2006

Is Your "Canadian Internet Pharmacy" in Pakistan? Now You Can (Almost) Tell

It has often been acknowledged here that many people want to buy Tamiflu so that they will have it on hand in case of an H5N1 pandemic. US public health officials take the view that this is not in the public interest, and they have put impediments in the way of individuals who want to obtain Tamiflu for this purpose. These impediments drive buyers to less reliable sources, such as internet pharmacies.

High Density of Rotten Eggs

Internet pharmacies that will supply Tamiflu without a prescription must accept as part of their business plan that they will operate at the margin of the law. This does not necessarily mean that they provide bogus products, but it certainly does increase the odds.

In earlier posts on this blog, I have explored several devices for ferreting out some of the most dubious practices of internet pharmacies. Most of these hunts involved detective work around the pharmacy's telephone number.

New Tool --- Locate the Origin of a Website.

Digital Point provides a free, easy to use Geotargeting Tool. Just plop in a site URL, and out pops the location of the web host. This works like a charm for all of your familiar sites.

It seems like a great way to check out "Canadian" pharmacies, right?

So, What Happened? Where Are They Hosted?

I checked as many sites as my attention span would permit. Every "Canadian" pharmacy that I examined had taken great lengths to avoid geographical identification of the IP address. Repeatedly, the geotargeting software gave only humorous interpretations of "location not found."

Here is a typical example:

Location of
Country: Atlantic Ocean
Region: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
City: Lost City Of Atlantis

Bottom Line?

The firms engaged in the Tamiflu-with-no-Prescription business tend to take clever internet steps to cloak their country of origin --- even while they splash big ink claiming to be Canadian.

The internet is large, and there may be exceptions to what I have found. To discover the exceptions will call for lots of persistence --- and the kind of luck that turns up needles in haystacks.


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