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FDA Shutters Illegal Online Pharmacies with Criminal Ties

FDA Shutters Illegal Online Pharmacies with Criminal Ties
By Jennifer LeClaire

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In addition to health risks, the FDA warns the illegally operating pharmacies pose non-health-related risks to consumers, including the possible exposure to credit card fraud, identity theft, and computer viruses. The FDA encourages consumers to report suspected criminal activity to the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations.
 


In partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took action this week against more than 9,600 websites that have been illegally selling potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription medicines to consumers. These actions include the issuance of regulatory warnings, as well as seizure of offending websites and more than $41 million worth of illegal medicines worldwide.

The action occurred as part of the 6th annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA), a global cooperative effort to combat the online sale and distribution of potentially counterfeit and illegal medical products.

As part of this year's international effort, dubbed Operation Pangea VI, the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado, seized and shut down 1,677 illegal pharmacy websites. The joint effort ran from June 18 to June 25.

Fake Drugs, Fake Claims

The FDA said many of the 1,677 Web sites appeared to be operating as a part of an organized criminal network that falsely purported its Web sites to be "Canadian Pharmacies."

These Web sites displayed fake licenses and certifications to convince U.S. consumers to purchase drugs they advertised as "brand name" and "FDA approved." The drugs received as part of Operation Pangea were not from Canada, and were neither brand name nor FDA approved.

The Web sites in question also used certain major U.S. pharmacy retailer names to trick U.S. consumers into believing an affiliation existed with these retailers.

"Illegal online pharmacies put American consumers' health at risk by selling potentially dangerous products. This is an ongoing battle in the United States and abroad, and the FDA will continue its criminal law enforcement and regulatory efforts," said John Roth, director of the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations.

"The agency is pleased to participate in Operation Pangea to protect consumers and strengthen relationships with international partners who join in this fight."

Drug Warnings

The FDA provided a list of some of the medicines that were sold illegally by the websites targeted during Operation Pangea VI, including the following details:

Avandaryl: FDA-approved Avandaryl (glimepiride and rosiglitazone) is used to treat type 2 diabetes and to minimize potential associated risks, including edema caused by fluid retention, worsening the condition of the heart, or heart failure. Avandaryl must be prescribed by a certified healthcare provider and dispensed by a certified pharmacy with a medication guide explaining the potential risks.

Generic Celebrex: "Generic Celebrex" sold online is not an FDA-approved product. FDA-approved Celebrex (celecoxib) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory product used to treat the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and to manage acute pain in adults. To minimize the potential associated risks, including gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attack, or stroke, in some people with long term use, Celebrex must be dispensed with a medication guide explaining the potential risks. (continued...)

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Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

verticalpharmacy:

Posted: 2013-07-04 @ 12:01am PT
Great Move from FDA and Interpol to curb fake pharmacies , FDA says as much as 97% of online pharmacies are Fake!!!

Rhonda S.:

Posted: 2013-07-03 @ 7:54am PT
This move should help protect consumers from scammy websites. I applaud them!



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