The FDA is taking action against online pharmacies that sell illegal, dangerous, and unapproved drugs to consumers. Food and drug officials recently collaborated with international law enforcement agencies to crack down on about 4,100 illegal online pharmacies. Authorities seized their illegal products, removed their websites, and filed criminal charges against the unlawful internet companies.
This action took place right in the middle of an international campaign known as Operation Pangea V, which aims to stop the sale and distribution of illicit drugs. This worldwide effort has already resulted in the closure of more than 18,000 unauthorized online pharmacies and recouped about $10.5 million of illegal drugs.
Our drug recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm believe that these phony drug products need to be totally removed from the market. Several reports have confirmed a rise in the number of online pharmacies that are operating illegally and deceiving the public.
As part of the effort, the FDA sent warning letters to more than 4,000 website managers. Then it sent notices to the domain name registries and Internet service providers, notifying them about the illegal nature of the drugs and other medical products they were dealing with. However, there are still many potentially dangerous pharmacy websites remaining, so consumers are still at risk of harm from illegal medications.
The unapproved medications sold by these illegal websites include antidepressants, antibiotics, and medication for treating high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. These drugs have proven to be quite dangerous when consumed without medical supervision. Some of these were also removed from the market because they presented a serious health hazard.
The FDA is also launching another campaign to warn consumers about the risks involved with buying prescription drugs online. The campaign, known as “BeSafeRX, Know Your Online Pharmacy,” explains how to avoid the aggressive marketing tactics of illegal pharmacies. Many of these fake online drug stores project themselves as being legitimate and operating under the guidance of experienced doctors and surgeons.
The danger lies not only in the ingredients that make up the illegal drugs, but also in wrong dosages of otherwise legal drugs that these pharmacies promote. In many cases the drug prescribed may be effective at curing the intended illness but cause other serious health problems.
- The FDA has issued a few guidelines for consumers to look out for while purchasing medicines and medical devices online:
- Always purchase from pharmacies located in the US
- Purchase only from pharmacies that require you to produce a doctor’s prescription before allowing you to buy from them
- The online pharmacy should have a valid license from the board of pharmacy of its respective state
- It’s important to point out that many online pharmacies may not actually be located where they claim to be, while others may not specifically require a doctor’s written prescription. Lawful pharmacies will have skilled doctors that decide whether it is safe and necessary for a patient to consume a particular drug.
The FDA’s BeSafeRx campaign is intended to educate not only consumers but also other federal agencies and non-profit and private organizations. It encourages them to take a stand against the illegal online sale of these drugs. Our drug recall attorneys support this national effort.