Availability of buprenorphine on the Internet for purchase without a prescription

Marcus A. Bachhuber, Chinazo O. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Use of illicit buprenorphine is increasingly recognized, but it is unknown if the Internet currently represents an accessible source. Methods: A series of Internet searches were conducted. Twenty searches were performed on two different search engines. The first 100 results of each search were classified into categories based on content. All Internet pharmacies were searched for buprenorphine preparations and if available, sites were examined to determine if a prescription was required for purchase, for the cost of buprenorphine, the geographical origin of the pharmacy, and evidence of validation by an online pharmacy verification service. Results: Of the 2000 links examined, 1422 were unique. Six percent of links were to illicit commercial sites, 2% were to legitimate commercial sites, and 2% were to illicit portal sites, which contained links to many illicit commercial sites. Twenty pharmacies offering buprenorphine for purchase without a prescription were identified. The monthly cost of a typical starting dose of 2. mg buprenorphine daily ranged between $232 and $1163 USD. No pharmacies were listed by online pharmacy verification services. Conclusion: Twenty online pharmacies advertising buprenorphine formulations for sale without a prescription were identified. Prices varied widely between illicit pharmacies but were uniformly more expensive than legitimate pharmacies. Illicitly obtained buprenorphine formulations appear to be relatively inaccessible and at high cost on the Internet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-240
Number of pages3
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013


  • Buprenorphine
  • Internet
  • Pharmacies
  • Substance-related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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