Published Online: Saturday, March 1, 2008

The recent focus on the use of steroids and human growth hormones by major league baseball players has once again put the spotlight on the role of Internet pharmacies in distributing these substances.

The report by former US Sen George Mitchell, released in December following his investigation into the illegal use of performance-enhancing substances in baseball, underscores the threat posed by sales of these substances over the Internet.

The Mitchell report highlights 2 methods for illegal distribution: one, whereby the Internet is used "instead of gym locker rooms or street corners as a semi-anonymous marketplace for drug transactions." The other method, the report notes, "involves rejuvenation centers that troll the Internet for customers, corrupt physicians who write prescriptions for patients they have not seen, and compounding pharmacies that fill these dubious prescriptions and deliver performance-enhancing substances to end users by mail."

Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. Selig has expressed support for bills pending in Congress to combat the problem, including anticrime legislation sponsored by Sen Joseph Biden (D, DE), that incorporates the online pharmacy safeguards included in a bill sponsored by Sen Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in September (S 980).

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