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This decrease was interpreted as evidence that the full use of antibiotics was also reduced. In the case of online histories to justify a prescription, we assumed that individuals are primarily purchasing antibiotics for an acute problem. Although providing over-the-counter drugs is illegal in the United States, failure to enforce US laws likely encourages these companies to sell their products to patients. Third, we categorized the classes of antibiotics available for purchase. The purpose of this study was to examine antibiotics available to patients without a prescription, a phenomenon on the Internet. In addition, the available quantities and the interval between prescribing and receiving treatment suggest that these transactions will likely be used by people storing drugs for future self-diagnosis and treatment, or for sale. Previous research suggests that a patient's past experience of care seeking and treatment use influences future expectations for treatment of respiratory tract infections. Our purchase arrived from Mexico with no information on instructions for use of the 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. For example, we found that servers at Dartmouth College, East Carolina University, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and California State University in San Francisco were all used, most likely without their knowledge, to be reassigned to online pharmacies. 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). This reservoir of antibiotics is likely to be used inappropriately-the Web sites promote self-diagnosis and self-medication, and antibiotics are likely to be used in inappropriate dosages. There are several limitations to this study. As a result, most community assessments of antibiotic reservoirs are based on assessments by prescribing clinician behavior. First, this study provides a sample of websites and providers, and thus may not be indicative of all suppliers selling over-the-counter antibiotics. Finally, in order to determine whether these sites actually provide a product that they intended to sell over the counter, we submitted an online order to 1 vendor for 6 tablets of azithromycin, 500 mg each.