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Previous research suggests that a patient's past experience of care seeking and treatment use influences future expectations for treatment of respiratory tract infections. In conclusion, antibiotics are freely available for purchase over the Internet without a prescription, and the general structure of transactions encourages self-medication and poor quality care. Clinicians evaluating the patient's use of self-medication when taking a medical history may function as an important opportunity to tell patients about not only antibiotic resistance, but also potential interactions between antibiotics and other prescription drugs. For this second group, no prescription from a doctor or clinical physician was necessary before gaining access to the site. As some vendors have multiple URLs to reach their company, we checked the mailing address, title and phone number to avoid double counting. After completing the online medical history, the customer would be given a prescription that would allow the purchase to be completed. 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. Increased regulation of sites outside of controlled substances to include antibiotics seems guaranteed and necessary. In the case of online histories to justify a prescription, we assumed that individuals are primarily purchasing antibiotics for an acute problem. That these companies can be located in countries outside US jurisdictions complicates enforcement of US laws. 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. Antibiotics serve a useful therapeutic purpose in treating and controlling the effects of infectious agents. All these obstacles cause the illegal acquisition of antibiotics by patients. Thus, as soon as patients receive over-the-counter antibiotics and self-treating self-limiting illnesses with drugs, such as upper-respiratory tract infections without complications, they are likely to suggest that the antibiotic was effective, and self-medicate in the future. In some cases the URL did not take the reader to an actual medication vendor; rather, the Web site contained multiple advertisements and links to other sites for purchasing antibiotics. First, this study provides a sample of websites and providers, and thus may not be indicative of all suppliers selling over-the-counter antibiotics.