July 30, 2013

FDA Says It Shut Down 1677 Online Pharmacies

This has to be serious when the FDA and Interpol cooperate to bring down 1677 websites selling counterfeit and substandard medications. I can only say good and maybe many of these sites will not reappear as they so often do. Only arresting 58 people is small potatoes though, but seizing more than $41 million worth of illegal medicines will be a temporary hurt for most of these businesses considering the billions in profits they rake in every year.

Either way, I am happy to see that this has happened and can only hope that they can step up this sort of action. The main points in determining if the online pharmacy is abiding by federal and state laws are the following and can be read here. I will still give the main points, as these are important to know.

The signs of a rogue Web site are as follows: Quoting
  1. No prescription required: Internet drug outlets are suspect if they dispense prescription medicine without requiring the patient or doctor to submit a prescription, or without contacting the patient’s doctor to obtain a valid prescription.
  2. Prescription based solely upon online questionnaire: Be wary of Internet drug outlets that dispense prescription medicines based solely on the patient completing an online questionnaire without having a pre-existing relationship with the doctor, including an in-person physical examination. Most state boards of pharmacy, boards of medicine, US Food and Drug Administration, US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federation of State Medical Boards, the American Medical Association, and NABP agree that this practice is illegal or fails to meet the standard of care.
  3. No phone number or street address: Internet drug outlets should have a toll-free phone number as well as a street address posted on their Web sites. Drug outlets that allow customers to communicate with them only by e-mail should be avoided.
  4. No pharmacist consultation: Legitimate pharmacies allow patients to contact pharmacists if they have questions about their medications, whether by phone or secure Web-based communication.
  5. Waivers: Legitimate pharmacies do not require patients to sign waivers to place the patient in legal jeopardy or waive all rights before providing medication.
  6. Limited medicines: Many untrustworthy Internet drug outlets offer only a limited number of medicines, particularly “lifestyle” or controlled substance medicines that treat such conditions as impotence, obesity, herpes, pain, and acne.
  7. International Web sites: Because foreign medicines purchased online are unapproved and not subject to the safety and efficacy standards of US Food and Drug Administration, their authenticity, purity, and safety are unknown. The safety and security of the sources from which these Web outlets obtain foreign medicines is also unknown. Some Web outlets that claim to be Canadian pharmacies actually sell medicines obtained from developing countries in Asia, Central America, the Middle East, or Eastern Europe, where regulations are more lax, and the prevalence of counterfeit medicines is significantly higher than in the United States.
  8. Spam solicitations: Many Internet operations that advertise through unsolicited e-mail messages (i.e., spam) operate illegally and are not a trustworthy source for obtaining anything, especially something as critical as prescription medicine. According to the Federal Trade Commission, spam e-mails can infect computers with spyware that can slow computer performance, install software that can record and report a customer’s every keystroke, spread computer viruses, and “hijack” a consumer’s computer to distribute more spam. Deceptive spam is also sometimes used to trick consumers into divulging sensitive or personal information, including credit card numbers and other financial data.
Trisha Torrey also speaks out about the same CNN News release and gives her thoughts. For more information about the safety of American drugs, read this by Trisha Torrey and follow some of the links she provides. Even our fellow countrymen are cashing in on counterfeit drugs and spreading them out to different distributors in our own drug-buying suppliers. Even some of our trusted pharmacies are duped by the counterfeit drug suppliers.

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