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12:40 PM   April 23, 2014
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Illegal Antibiotics Trade

A decades-old drug industry loophole could mean people use your store as a personal pharmacy, rather than a place to cure their fish of bacterial infections. In fact some of your fish medication customers may not have fish at all. They could be seeking, instead, to cure their own chronic infections with the antibiotics formulated for use in marine and freshwater tanks.

Uninsured or underinsured Americans without access to health care are taking matters into their own hands with increasing frequency. Many easily obtain antibiotics from ethnic grocers, Mexico, the Internet, and – believe it or not – your store.

Take a look at the following ingredients: tetracycline, triple sulfa, erythromycin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, cephalexin and metronidazole. Chances are at least one or more of these potent, human-grade antibiotics can be found in your line of fish medications used to treat bacterial infection.

An FDA loophole allows consumers to purchase fish antibiotics without veterinary prescription. Unfortunately, consumers are buying them for their own use. Without access to a doctor or the resources to purchase antibiotics to treat their own illnesses, people in your community just might have resorted to your shelves.

Health care officials and pharmacists recommend against the practice of taking antibiotics formulated for use with pets. Even though, in most cases, the drugs are molecularly identical to the ones prescribed to treat human illnesses, their delivery methods and concentrations may be radically different.

People who engage in this activity may be putting their own lives at risk by allowing untreated infections to continue to take hold. Thinking they’re healing themselves with fish antibiotics, people, in fact, put their health at greater risk.

Train your staff to approach customers browsing the medications isle. A simple question about what type of fish they have may uncover the truth about the real reason they’re shopping in your store. <HOME> 

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