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Excedrin has been off the shelves for almost six months due to a manufacturing snafu and migraine-sufferers are turning to expensive eBay sales to keep the pain at bay.
Bottles of Excedrin have been sold online for over $1 per pill which means rich profits for the sellers. At least one man has made about $300 per bottle in online sales on eBay according to the New York Post.
With the high costs and the threat of crippling migraines, there might be an argument that sellers are taking advantage of the people purchasing the highly coveted drug.
While the behavior may be unfair, whether it's illegal is a different matter.
A sale of goods in exchange for money is always a contract, even if nothing is signed. The buyer agrees to pay and the seller agrees to provide the purchased item.
The fact that it takes place online between two strangers doesn't change the enforceability.
It is possible to void a contract under a number of circumstances, including duress or coercion. If one person is forced into the agreement by threats then the contract isn't binding and the victimized party can back out.
But in order to prove it, the person must be threatened with unlawful or wrongful action AND they must have no choice but to agree to the deal.
The most obvious flaw in voiding these eBay sales is that there is no threat of illegal activity. The only threat buyers face is being struck with a migraine when they have no Excedrin.
Excedrin buyers also have a choice.
While migraine-sufferers prefer the name brand, generics should work just as effectively reports ABC's Health and Medical Editor, Dr. Richard Besser. It may not seem fair to someone who relies on Excedrin, but in terms of the law there is another option which would defeat a claim of duress.
Novartis has said that they hope to get some of their products back on shelves later this year. Until then, Excedrin buyers will likely have to put up with eBay price-gougers.