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June 1st, 2011
09:58 AM ET

In Depth: The black market for prescription drugs

On American Morning this morning we're continuing CNN's In Depth look at our use of drugs and medication in the U.S.

Today, we're taking a closer look at the black market for prescription drugs. It's a billion-dollar business, and both dealers and addicts will do anything to get their hands on them. Some 1800 pharmacies have been robbed over the last three years across the country because the street value of these drugs is so high.

See the chart below, as reported by CNN's Poppy Harlow and

Oxycontin – could get $50 to $80 on the street, vs. $6 when sold legally
Oxycodone – could get $12 to $40 on the street, vs. $6 when sold legally
Hydrocodone – could get $5 to $20 on the street vs. $1.50 when sold legally
Percocet pill – could get $10 to $15 on the street vs. $6 when sold legally
Vicodin – could get $5 to $25 on the street vs. $1.50 when sold legally

This morning, pharmacist and executive committee member of the National Community Pharmacists Association Keith Hodges speaks with AM's Kiran Chetry. He's had to beef up security at his pharmacy, after a number of attempted break ins. He'll talk about how big a problem this is for him and other pharmacists across the country.

Filed under: Drugs • In Depth • Prescription drugs
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Pharmacist Steve

    The 30+ states that have controlled prescription databases are not used by healthcare professionals.
    Pharmacies are mandated to automatically submit data on controlled substances – it is transparent to the Pharmacist. Getting a report back from the system is labor/time intensive.
    It is as if the system is set up to collect data that they know few will use because of how it is structured to retrieve data.
    The typical excuse you will get from Pharmacists for not using these systems:

    I don't have the time
    I am not going to be the "narc police"
    I do not want to be confrontational with a patient/customer
    It will reduce by $$ volume and it will cut into my bonus !

    The whole war on drugs is based on a "fill & chase" business plan.
    docs get money for office visits
    Pharmacists get money for filling Rxs
    Insurance companies just pass the cost along to premiums
    DEA get to justify larger staffs and budgets
    Pharma's get $$ for the drugs they produce.
    Those corp that operate prisons get more $$ to house non-violent drug sellers.
    The MONEY TRAIL is very long and convoluted

    June 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm |