In a coordinated enforcement action involving the FDA, US Customs and Border Patrol, along with international agencies like Interpol and enforcement and regulatory bodies from 111 countries, action was taken against web sites that “sell unapproved prescription drugs to US consumers.”
This is part of an ongoing effort of a program termed Operation Pangea. “Operation Pangea VII‘s coordinated efforts at mail facilities resulted in the detention or seizure of 19,618 packages containing medicines purportedly from Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), New Zealand and Canada. These packages actually contained unapproved or suspected counterfeit drugs from other countries, such as India, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Mexico, Laos, Malaysia, as well as Australia, New Zealand and the UK.”
The FDA and US Border and Customs officials detained or seized almost 600 packages at Los Angeles, Chicago and New York mail facilities. “When consumers buy prescription drugs 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,” said Douglas Stearn, Director of the FDA‘s Office of Enforcement and Import Operations. “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. In addition to health risks, these pharmacies pose other risks to consumers, including credit card fraud, identity theft or computer viruses.”
So you think the prescription drugs you purchase on line are safe and effective – but thinking that does not make it true. My wife always says “Cheap isn’t cheap, cheap is expensive”, and it could be costing you your health. So before clicking on that purchase button, take a minute to think about why the product is cheaper and all the money you are saving – you know the old adage about “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” – then think of all of the expense of the potential extra doctors’ visits or even hospitalization that could occur from counterfeit or substandard product.
The FDA’s full article on this issue can be found here. The FDA also provides suggestions on how to identify illegal websites and how to find safe online pharmacies in the piece. Give it a read and provide it to your friends or colleagues to spread the word about the dangers of illegal online prescription sites.