An insight into the sale of prescription drugs and medicine on the AlphaBay cryptomarket

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Drug Issues, 2020, 50 (1), pp. 15 - 34
Issue Date:
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© The Author(s) 2019. Internet access has provided new ways to trade goods. Unlike conventional legal sale sites, cryptomarkets facilitate exchanges in a context where the anonymity of participants is warranted. The aim of this article was to obtain a better understanding of the trafficking of prescription drugs and medicine on the AlphaBay cryptomarket. The results showed that alprazolam, oxycodone, and Adderall were the most offered prescription drugs while alprazolam, diazepam, and oxycodone were the most sold substances. The sale was dominated by North America, Australia, and Western European countries. The revenue of prescription drugs was estimated to be more than US$65 million since the creation of AlphaBay, a small market in comparison with the worldwide legal pharmaceutical market’s estimate of US$1.3 trillion in 2020. Digital traces offer a complementary way to understand the trafficking of prescription drugs and medicine and to identify the most prolific vendors and their implication in this trafficking.
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