Illegal Internet pharmacies are thriving in India and they are increasingly becoming a source of pharmaceutical drug abuse across the globe, a report released by the United Nations office of Drugs and Crime said Wednesday.

“India has emerged as one of the main sources of drugs sold through illegal Internet pharmacies, where orders placed abroad are dispatched to buyers using couriers and postal services, which have become a common means of smuggling drugs abroad,” the annual International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) report released here said.

The international report said that pharma drug abuse in Bhutan and Bangladesh are also gradually picking up.

It said seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants show that trafficking of these substances may be increasing in South Asia and it has also become a location for their manufacture.

“A number of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories have been discovered in India in recent years,” the report said.

“We have busted nine major cases of Internet pharmacy in the past few years. We are taking a lot of steps to control the menace but to monitor the Internet is a huge task,” Ish Kumar, deputy director general of India's Narcotic Control Bureau, told IANS.

Kumar said they have sensitised several parcel service providers to curb the menace and get hold of the rackets involved in the process. “We are following a system of controlled delivery, which has given us some positive results so far,” Kumar added.

“The widespread abuse of pharmaceutical preparations containing narcotic drugs, example Codeine, is an ongoing problem in Bangladesh. Pharmaceutical preparations containing Benzodiazepines are among the most widely abused in Bhutan,” the global body said.