Man, Daughter, and Grandson and Person Typing on Computer


The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies’ blog profiles efforts to address the growing problem of consumer access to illegitimate pharmaceutical products on the Internet from the perspective of CSIP staff and board members and partners. It is updated on a a regular basis with new information and breaking news stories so be sure to check back often.


Black Market Insulin: Life-Saving Medication or Major Health Risk?

Insulin pen

Every year 1.4 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes. If they are dependent on insulin to keep their blood sugar levels out of dangerous ranges, they are faced with a potentially huge expense. According to a 2016 article in Diabetes Forecast, “by 2020 the global insulin market will top $48 billion” and depending on the availability and type of insurance coverage, the burden on patients and their families is tremendous.

Individuals are countering this high price by turning to black market trading and purchasing of insulin via online sources that may or may not be legitimate. According to a 2017 NBC News article, “soaring insulin prices and inflexible insurance prices” are forcing parents to purchase or make deals via the Black Market for needed insulin for their children. But how do you know you are getting the medication you need? Counterfeit insulin pens, and test strips have been found on the marketplace and can result in injury or death if a patient who needs insulin, ends up dosing incorrectly or has an insulin pen that is fake and doesn’t work.

In addition to efforts by CSIP, partners and federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to curb the sale of counterfeit medications. Organizations like the American Diabetes Association are working to promote more affordable pricing of insulin for patients and to offer prescription assistance. “Diabetes kills more Americans every year than AIDS and breast cancer combined” reports the American Diabetes Association in its Fast Facts Series. With proper self-care and medication therapy, the risk of complications (including death) from uncontrolled diabetes can be minimized.

Before purchasing insulin or other diabetes supplies from an online pharmacy, patients can utilize, a free service provided by CSIP in partnership with the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State. This site can help with finding safe online pharmacies as well as ways to save on prescription medication.

The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and our member companies have the shared goal of helping address the growing problem of consumer access to illegitimate pharmaceutical products on the Internet. Continue to read this blog for updates on CSIP’s education, enforcement and information-sharing efforts.


Fake Fentanyl Pills: Hard to See but Harmful to All

Counterfeit Pills

A deadly problem has been quietly taking root in the United States. Illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, is being sold as counterfeit pain medication. Consumers should take heed, as it can be lethal in very small doses, as evident by the death of the singer Prince last year.

According to CNN, counterfeit pills made with fentanyl, but marked as oxycodone or Xanax, can be deadly. Unsuspecting buyers, including patients with severe pain, have no idea what they are really getting from a rogue online pharmacy or a drug dealer. Counterfeit fentanyl is easy to manufacture. Pill presses that are made in China, can be purchased easily and inexpensively online, and they can be used to turn fentanyl powder into pill form to mimic drugs, such as the pain killer, oxycodone, and the anti-anxiety drug, Xanax. Read More


Low-Cost Option Developed for Authentication of Counterfeit Drugs

Counterfeit Pills

Counterfeit drugs pose a significant public health risk to consumers, as they may lack active ingredients or even contain dangerous substances. While counterfeiting is often more prevalent in developing countries, dangerous fake medication can be purchased online, making this a global concern. In an effort to help consumers and health professionals stay safe from the dangers associated with these drugs, researchers and authentication companies are developing viable solutions to help detect counterfeit products. Read More