Physician Ford Vox started noticing prescription drugs on Amazon that were available without a prescription, he writes on Slate.
All of the drugs linked to in his article have since been removed from Amazon, indicating that the company removes potentially illegal goods when they have been identified.
But other listings for prescription drugs mentioned in the article can still be found on the e-commerce site.
A quick search for the medication Vitara Clinda Gel brings up more than 100 results. Searching for its prescription-regulated ingredient, clindamycin, yields more than 300 results. Clindamycin, Vox writes, is known to cause severe and even deadly reactions if used improperly. There's a reason it's not supposed to be easy to get.
Vox writes there are many more strong and dangerous drugs available on Amazon that would usually require a doctor's signature, such as prescription-strength muscle relaxers and antibiotics, which can contain harmful compounds and are lethal with misuse.
Here's what Amazon told Vox:
I asked Amazon public relations manager Erik Fairleigh a number of specific questions about how illegal products make it through to the site to end up being sold to Amazon customers. I wanted to know if Amazon employees manually review each product before it is listed, why products are removed following reporting like this only to reappear later on the site, a! nd if Am azon considers itself protected from liability when third-party distributors are selling illegal products to Amazon's customers. Fairleigh declined to answer these questions, but he did point me to Amazon's policy on counterfeiting, which attempts to distance the company from the third-party sellers in its marketplace by saying "it is each seller's responsibility to source and sell only authentic products." The policy goes on to state that, "if we determine that a seller account has been used to engage in fraud or other illegal activity, remittances and payments may be withheld or forfeited."