FDA cracks down on illegal online pharmacies
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with the help of international law enforcement agencies, took action against more than 4,100 Internet pharmacies in the past week. These pharmacies are responsible for illegally selling potentially dangerous, unapproved drugs to consumers. In many cases, the medicines can be detrimental to public health because they contain active ingredients that are approved by FDA for use only under the supervision of a licensed health care practitioner or active ingredients that were previously withdrawn from U.S. market due to safety issues. The actions taken include civil and criminal charges, seizure of illegal products, and removal of offending websites.
The crack-down is part of the 5th Annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA), which is a global cooperative effort to combat the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medical products. This year’s effort was named Operation Pangea V and it contributed to the shutdown of more than 18,000 illegal pharmacy websites and the seizure of about $10.5 million worth of pharmaceuticals worldwide.
Some of the counterfeit drugs that were identified by the authorities include:
Among the illegal medicines identified through the operation were:
• Domperidone: causes serious adverse effects, including irregular heartbeat, stopping of the heart, or sudden death
• Isotretinoin (previously marketed as Accutane in the United States): used to treat severe nodular acne and carries significant potential risks, including severe birth defects if pregnancy occurs while using this medicine.
• Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate): used to treat the flu, contains the wrong active ingredient, which would not be effective in treating flu
As mentioned in one of my previous articles, the drugs purchased through the internet are more likely to be counterfeit. It is reassuring to see the authorities take such a strong action against the counterfeiters, who are, no doubt, directly causing harm to a lot of patients in the world. The situation was also detrimental to legitimate drug companies, who take extra steps to make sure their drugs are safe. If you are interested in learning about the pharma industry in Asia, do consider attending the 6th Annual Biopharma Asia Convention, where issues such as these will be discussed by industry leaders and experts.
Source: World Pharma News