Illegal online meds targeted in worldwide crackdown, FDA says

Illegal online meds targeted in worldwide crackdown, FDA says
More than 19,600 packages seized in U.S., including drugs for diabetes, glaucoma and impotence.

(HealthDay)—Illegal online pharmacies that sell unapproved and potentially dangerous prescription drugs to Americans were targeted this week in a worldwide operation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.

More than 19,600 packages containing medicines supposedly from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Great Britain were seized in the action, which involved authorities from 111 countries, the FDA said in a news release.

The packages actually contained unapproved or suspected fake drugs from countries such as China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and Taiwan, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, the agency reported.

In the United States, officials inspected shipments at international mail facilities in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City and seized or detained 583 packages. Many of the packages contained illegal that had been ordered online.

These drugs ordered by U.S. consumers included drugs such as insulin, glaucoma eye drops (bimatoprost), the pain reliever tramadol and medications for erectile dysfunction—tadalafil and sildenafil citrate. Hormone medications including estrogen and were also seized.

"When consumers buy from outside the legitimate supply chain, they cannot know if the medicines they receive are counterfeit or even if they contain the right active ingredient in the proper dosages," Douglas Stearn, director of the FDA's Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, said in an agency news release.

Some countries have less stringent drug manufacturing standards or regulations than the United States, according to the FDA.

"Consumers have little or no legal recourse if they experience a reaction to the unregulated medication or if they receive no therapeutic benefit at all," Stearn said. "In addition to health risks, these pharmacies pose other risks to consumers, including credit card fraud, identity theft or computer viruses."

As part of the operation, the FDA also notified Internet service providers, domain name registrars and related organizations that 1,975 websites were selling products in violation of U.S. law.

Philip Walsky, acting director of the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, said many illegal use slick website templates and empty guarantees to convince U.S. consumers that the inexpensive drugs they sell are the exact same prescription drugs that are dispensed in the United States.

The FDA said it would continue to strengthen its national and international partnerships to shed light on these Internet-based fraudulent activities, he said.

More information: The FDA has more about buying medicines online.

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Online pharmacy crackdown shutters 1,677 websites

Jun 27, 2013

U.S. and international regulators have seized more than $41 million in illegal medicines worldwide and shut down 1,677 websites as part of their ongoing fight against counterfeit drugs sold over the Internet.

FDA warning public of risks of online pharmacies

Sep 28, 2012

The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public that most Internet pharmacies are fraudulent, selling drugs that likely are counterfeit and could harm or even kill people.

US cracks down on illegal diabetes remedies

Jul 23, 2013

(AP)—The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on more than a dozen U.S. and foreign companies that market illegal treatments for diabetes, ranging from bogus dietary supplements to prescription ...

FDA cracks down on untested cold medicines

Mar 02, 2011

(AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration says it will remove roughly 500 unapproved cold and allergy medications from the market as part of an ongoing campaign cracking down on ineffective prescription medications.

Saturday is national drug take-back day

Apr 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—If you have expired, unused or unwanted drugs in your medicine cabinet, you can safely dispose of them on National Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday.

Recommended for you

Supermaterial gives rejected drugs a new chance

23 hours ago

More than 80 percent of all drug candidates in the pharma R&D suffer from poor solubility and are therefore rejected early in the drug discovery process. Now Uppsala University researchers show that the new ...

Risk of antibiotic overuse in aged care settings

Jul 21, 2014

Antibiotics are being overused in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), and more integrated efforts to improve antibiotic prescribing practices need to be introduced, researchers say. 

Ruconest approved for rare genetic disease

Jul 17, 2014

(HealthDay)—Ruconest has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat hereditary angioedema, a genetic disease that leads to sudden and potentially fatal swelling of the hands, feet, limbs, face, intestinal ...

NIH system to monitor emerging drug trends

Jul 17, 2014

An innovative National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) is being developed to monitor emerging trends that will help health experts respond quickly to potential outbreaks of illicit drugs such as heroin and to identify increased ...

User comments