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Even with these strategies, however, it was difficult to know whether one corporation still owns and manages several locations. The extended delay between diagnosis and treatment receipt has consequences for resolving self-limiting conditions and storing unused treatment. Most initiatives, however, focus almost exclusively on controlling prescribing by health care clinicians and do not focus on patient self-medication. 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. The vendors identified in this study do not appear to be fearful of prosecution. 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. First, this study provides a sample of websites and providers, and thus may not be indicative of all suppliers selling over-the-counter antibiotics. That these companies can be located in countries outside US jurisdictions complicates enforcement of US laws. This phenomenon has not been the focus of initiatives to control antibiotic resistance. 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). Several studies suggest that antibiotic prescribing for viral illnesses, respiratory tract infections being one example, has declined in the last decade. We classified Web sites of vendors according to several variables. 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. Second, we examined whether the vendor would ship prescription antibiotics to a buyer in the United States, as well as several other countries (Canada, United Kingdom) where antibiotics are available only by prescription. Fifth, we estimated the expected delivery time to take antibiotics. Antibiotics serve a useful therapeutic purpose in treating and controlling the effects of infectious agents.