Distributive policy

Government cracks down on illegal online sale of drugs and narcotics


The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it would work with seven private and public institutions to closely monitor internet marketing sites until December to stamp out the illegal sale of drugs and narcotics online.


The seven groups are the Korean Pharmaceutical Association, the Korea Pharmaceutical Traders Association, the Korea Internet & Security Agency, the Korea Pharmaceutical and Bio-Pharma Manufacturers Association, the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS), and the Korean Association Against Drug Abuse.


Illegally marketed steroids (Credit: Ministry of Food and Drug Safety)


The ministry will ask the Korea Communications Commission to remove or block illegal marketing and promotion sites caught during the inspection and refer repeat offenders to prosecutors.


Korea’s Pharmaceutical Affairs Law and Narcotics Control Law Enforcement Decree prohibit the sale of pharmaceuticals and narcotics on the Internet to prevent the distribution of fake medicines.


Consumers cannot confirm whether illegally marketed pharmaceuticals are authorized and there is a risk of contamination during the distribution process.


If consumers experience a side effect after taking an illegally distributed medicine, they cannot benefit from damage compensation.


Anyone who sells, introduces, markets or buys drugs or narcotics online is liable to penalties.


Starting July 21 this year, a consumer who buys prescription drugs such as steroids and ephedrine injections from an illicit seller will be fined one million won ($824).


“To eradicate the illicit online sale of pharmaceuticals and narcotics, we will expand collaboration with private and public organizations,” the ministry said.