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I-Team Special Report: Drug Dilemma, Part II

Updated: Friday, May 2, 2014 |
I-Team Special Report: Drug Dilemma, Part II story image
WEST MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Medicine or food?

That is a choice some families face, and some are now turning to a different method to acquire prescription drugs.

The I-Team investigated a drug dilemma, and found a black market for prescription drugs that is very dangerous.

When your doctor gives you a prescription you go to a pharmacy to pick up the medicine. That's the safe way to make sure you know what you are putting in your body.

But that is not how everybody shops for medicine.

Go online and search craigslist, and it is not hard to find someone posting for sale something that is supposed to require a prescription.

We found listings for human growth hormone and many prescriptions diabetics use, including Lantus, Novolog, and Levimir.

You would not use insulin unless you need it, this is not for an addiction. So why would someone be interested in buying this way?

If someone does not have insurance, prescriptions can be very expensive. Even with insurance some pay a lot out of pocket, because plans vary.

Pharmacists tell Newschannel 3 diabetes medications can cost in the hundreds.

We found lower prices on the black market.

Newschannel 3 contacted some of the craigslist postings selling prescriptions.

We spoke with someone on the phone who was selling what she said was insulin at a lower price than a pharmacy.

The Drug Enforcement Agency tells Newschannel 3 buying or selling prescriptions this way is illegal, but the desperation to save money creates another risk.

"You never have any guarantee on what you're getting," said Jim Middleton, the Director of Pharmacy at Western Michigan University. "There's not control over it. There's no oversight. You may be getting anything. You could be getting toxic waste from China."

The craigslist website has a list of rules users are suppose to follow.

The company says any good, service, or content that violates the law or legal rights of others is prohibited.

The DEA is focused on controlled substances--which insulin is not--but they told Newschannel 3 it would still be an illegal transaction because it requires a prescription, and a prosecutor could pursue charges.
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Business News

Last Update on August 28, 2014 17:08 GMT

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a bleak start to the year, the U.S. economy rebounded vigorously in the April-June quarter, growing at a brisk annual rate of 4.2 percent, slightly faster than first estimated.

The upward revision supported expectations that the second half of 2014 will prove far stronger than the first half.

The Commerce Department's second estimate of growth for last quarter compares with its initial estimate of 4 percent. The revision reflected stronger business investment in new equipment and structures than first thought.

The seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent annual growth rate for the gross domestic product came after the economy had shrink at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the January-March quarter, the biggest drop in activity since the depths of the Great Recession.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits slipped 1,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 298,000, a low level that signals employers are cutting few jobs and hiring is likely to remain strong.

The Labor Department says the four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 299,750. That's just 6,000 higher than four weeks ago, when the average fell to the lowest level in more than eight years.

When employers hold onto their workers, it suggests they are more confident in the economy and could step up hiring.

The applications data is the latest sign that the job market is steadily healing. Average job gains since February have been the best in eight years.

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The National Association of Realtors says its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 3.3 percent to 105.9 last month. Still, the index remains 2.1 percent below its level a year ago.

The pressures that caused home sales to stall last year have started to ease. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped to 4.1 percent, a 52-week low. Prices are no longer rising at double-digit annual rates, thereby helping to improve affordability.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases. A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a contract and a completed sale.

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Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage is 4.10 percent, the same as last week. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, has risen to 3.25 percent from 3.23 percent.

At its 52-week low of 4.10 percent, the rate on a 30-year mortgage is down from 4.53 percent at the start of the year. Rates have fallen even though the Federal Reserve has been trimming its monthly bond purchases, which are intended to keep long-term borrowing rates low. The purchases are set to end in October.

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The data issued Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed a robust picture as the banking industry continues to recover from the financial crisis that struck six years ago. The improving economy has brought greater demand for loans and stepped-up lending.

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Demoulas announced Wednesday that an agreement has been reached for him to buy majority stake in the business -- $1.5 billion the 50.5 percent of the company owned by his rival cousin Arthur S. Demoulas and his allies. The deal is expected to take several months.

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