US program to stop illegal availability of opioids online

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) were launching a 120-day pilot program to help reduce the availability of unapproved opioids illegally offered for sale online, according to an FDA statement.

Under the program, the FDA will notify Internet registries when the agency sends a warning letter to a website operator and the website operator does not respond adequately within the required timeframe, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Internet registries will review the FDA’s notifications and assess whether to take further voluntary action, including possible domain name suspensions or blocks.

“Cooperation between the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Commerce, with the addition of the pilot program, will help stop the online sale of illicit opioids and combat our country’s deadly addiction crisis,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday.

At the end of the program, the agencies will analyze its effectiveness as a potential solution to dealing with the illegal sale of unapproved opioids online, according to the statement.