8% of prescription drugs available in the United States are smuggled via online drug scams involving internet pharmacies that sell to Americans.

Val Kennedy, pharmaceuticals reporter for the Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch interviewed Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bruce Foucart about the risks of online drug purchasing, and prescription drug smuggling into the United States. Says Agent Foucart, 8% of prescription drugs are illegally smuggled into the U.S. for purchase by Americans. ICE sees smuggled drugs include lifesaving medications, like heart medications, as well as lifestyle drugs, like weight loss and ED drugs.

Agent Foucart says that drugs that purport to come from Canada may actually be coming from other countries, for example in Asia or Russia. Organized crime has been getting into the business. Some of the illegal drug trafficking organizations are getting into smuggling medications, organizations that used to smuggle cocaine or marijuana now smuggle these because it’s easier.

Agent Foucart recommends using your common sense when purchasing online. First of all, make sure a prescription is required. Illegitimate websites will not require a prescription, nor will they have a pharmacist on the other end. And make sure they use a legitimate credit card merchant.