What’s safer — online pharmacies or Wal-Mart?

As readers of this blog know, we sometimes grow weary of defending legitimate online and mail-order pharmacies against those uninformed (and/or Big Pharma-funded) voices who enjoying tarring all online pharmacies with the same broad brush.

Yes, we know there is a big problem with rogue online pharmacies. That’s why we created eDrugSearch.com — to create a place you could come to buy medications from pharmacies that are all properly licensed by the Canadian government.

Did you know that, for all the hyperventilating about the safety of online pharmacies, there is not a single reported case of an American citizen receiving adulterated, impure or improper medications from a licensed Canadian pharmacy? It’s true — not one.

Wal-Mart’s track record isn’t as good.

You may recall that last year, a Wal-Mart pharmacist’s error sent a teenager into a coma.

And last week, we received some unexpected (in fact, downright bizarre) insight into how Wal-Mart cuts corners on the prices its pharmacies charge.

According to the Huffington Post:

ABC 4 News in Cedar City, Utah—a town of roughly 28,000 people—reported that a routine traffic stop of three men led to a bizarre tale of prescription narcotics, illegal couriers, a Las Vegas drug supplier, and the world’s largest retailer.

Diego Jimenez, Maricio Jimenez, and Kyle Gutierrez are being held in a jail in Iron County while local authorities sift through their odd story. Police pulled over their car as it was traveling north on Route 15 just south of 100 miles per hour. The men claim they were hired to deliver prescription drugs to at least three Wal-Mart stores, including the superstore on South Providence Drive in Cedar City, Utah, which has an in-store pharmacy. The three men reportedly had already been to the Wal-Mart supercenter in St. George, Utah, which is south of Cedar City on Route 15, and the Wal-Mart superstore on Route 15 further south in Mesquite, Nevada, on the border with Arizona.

While searching the car, police found marijuana paraphernalia, two boxes of prescription narcotics, and a retail invoice for $30,000. Two of the three men in the car admitted to being illegal aliens. The men claimed they had been retained by a company called Nevada Courier, given $150 and a tank of gas to “drive these medications down here and drop them off.”

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The three suspects arrested are all reportedly from Las Vegas. The police verified their story by checking with the retailer. “I called Wal-Mart,” one police spokesman told ABC news, “and they said yeah they were expecting a delivery and the driver was late.”…

The ABC piece added: “Sheriffs say what’s frightening here is the safety of Wal-Mart’s pharmacy customers.”

You can pick your jaw up off the floor now. It’s all true.

Al Norman, who wrote the Huffington Post article, sums it up this way —

Wal-Mart has been in the pharmacy business since 1978, and has over 4,264 pharmacy locations in the U.S. alone. The company boasts of its high-tech software system that gives its pharmacists access to a “huge database” across the country. Yet a company with this sophistication is obtaining narcotics from a carload of illegal “couriers” barreling up Route 15 at 96 miles per hour.

When I read the piece, I couldn’t help but think, “Can you imagine if a story like this broke in the media involving a Canadian online pharmacy?”

And yet for Wal-Mart, it’s barely a blip on the radar.

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

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