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We therefore wanted to find out if the amount of time between online evaluation and getting treatment was significantly longer. In addition, the ability of Internet-based companies to exist without an identifiable physical location or property makes the location and writing of FDA instructions extremely difficult. To examine the types of Web sites and vendors dispensing antibiotics on the Internet, we conducted a search using 2 major search engines (Google and Yahoo) and the key words "purchase antibiotics without prescription" and "online (English only). Even with these strategies, however, it was difficult to know whether one corporation still owns and manages several locations. We compared identifying telephone numbers, street addresses, and site headers for each site as a way to sort out duplication. Fourth, we categorized whether a person could buy antibiotics, especially broad-spectrum antibiotics, in quantities greater than what would be considered adequate 1 course of treatment for acute respiratory tract infection. The medical community and the public health and regulating agencies, as well as pharmaceutical companies, need to expand efforts to control antibiotic resistance beyond initiatives centered on prescribing behavior to include self-medication and sources of antibiotics obtained without prescription. Our study is the first to document this phenomenon, and we describe the mechanism for purchasing antibiotics online; future studies will need to document the scope of antibiotics purchased through this mechanism to better understand its direct implications for antibiotic resistance. Most initiatives, however, focus almost exclusively on controlling prescribing by health care clinicians and do not focus on patient self-medication. Patients are increasingly using the Internet not only to access health information but also to obtain medication. Because of its effect on morbidity and mortality, antibiotic resistance is considered a threat to US health and national security by the Institute of Medicine and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The vendors identified in this study do not appear to be fearful of prosecution. If patients who are now denied antibiotics through their physician can access over-the-counter medications, the overall level of antibiotic use in the general population can actually increase and thus have a significant effect on rates of resistance to microbial degradation. Although the vast majority of websites were in English, some were in other languages. We classified Web sites of vendors according to several variables.