Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

October 26, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. today warned Maryland residents to be cautious of risks related to the sale of the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin, commonly called Cipro. The warning was issued in the wake of continuing reports of anthrax-related threats in Maryland and throughout the nation that have resulted in growing sales of Cipro. In particular, the Attorney General voiced his concern over reports that consumers are purchasing Cipro without prescriptions or without first consulting with their physicians.

"I appreciate the concern that many Marylanders have for the health and safety of their families in the wake of this week’s reports of anthrax infections in our area," said Attorney General Curran. "My concern is that consumers may harm themselves by buying these products."

A number of Internet websites are now offering to sell Cipro without requiring prescriptions. Under Maryland law, medications such as Cipro cannot be sold without a prescription. Curran says possible risks to consumers buying Cipro without a prescription or consulting a doctor are:

• Self-medicating without being cautioned of potential side effects, which may include internal bleeding, headaches, seizures, depression and cardiac arrhythmia.

• Paying too much. For example, one website is charging consumers $120 for six pills.

• The possibility of buying Cipro at a dose that is too low to be effective against anthrax, Cipro that has been adulterated, or fake Cipro.

Curran also warned consumers who are using Cipro and have not been infected with anthrax or another infection for which Cipro is prescribed that they may be actually doing themselves more harm than good because instead of preventing an infection, they instead may be aiding in the development of new strains of bacteria that may be resistant to antibiotic treatments.

The advice Curran offered Marylanders is to be wary of any offers to sell prescription medications without a prescription and to always consult with their physicians before using any medication such as Cipro.