FDA Drops the Hammer – 1677 Online Pharmacies Closed

FDA Drops the Hammer – 1677 Online Pharmacies Closed

June 28th, 2013 // 4:31 pm @

Latest FDA and cGMP Compliance News

Consumers may find the prices tempting, but ordering prescription drugs from an online pharmacy can be risky, and FDA this week took action. It has shut down 1677 websites that were selling counterfeit or poor quality drugs. Many other sites have gotten regulatory warnings from FDA.

FDA officials noted that they had arrested 60 people and had seized over $40 million in illegal drugs, too.

Some of the sites had sleek designs and names that were easy to confuse with legitimate companies. For example. the agency shut down the site www.walgreens-store.com, which was a play off of www.walgreens.com.

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FDA noted that these bad online pharmacies have a major impact upon consumers. The products often do not have any of the APIs that people need for their medical condition. They might have too much or not enough of the ingredient, they can be toxic, and can cause serious health problems.

Some of the most common counterfeit drug scams involve Viagra, Celebrex and Levitra. The crackdown this week involved over 100 countries.

In some countries, FDA uses hand scanners to detect drugs that are suspected of being of subpar quality. Some drugs are seized and then tested to see if the products actually contain the active ingredients claimed. These hand scanners are used in some US airports, including in LA.

FDA also is working closely with large drug companies, such as Pfizer, and is doing investigations that turn evidence over to the government.

It is not known how many people die every year from counterfeit drugs; unless there is a very obvious adverse reaction, drugs are not often tested, so many counterfeit drugs are not really noticed.

However, a recent analysis done by the National Assn of Boards of Pharmacy found that in a check of 10000 websites, about 96% did not comply in full with state and federal requirements. And up to 88% did not require a prescription that was valid.

Many of the suspect sites are based abroad. Many sites say they are in Canada to get US customers to buy the cheaper drugs that they think are coming from the US northern neighbor. In reality, many of the companies are in India, Pakistan and China.


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