FDA targets illegal pharma websites

November 27, 2009
Angie Drakulich

Angie Drakulich was editorial director of Pharmaceutical Technology.

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe

The FDA has issued 22 Warning Letters to website operators as part of its International Internet Week of Action, a week-long international effort aimed at curbing illegal actions involving medical products.

The FDA has issued 22 Warning Letters to website operators as part of its International Internet Week of Action, a week-long international effort aimed at curbing illegal actions involving medical products. Twenty-four countries participated in the special operation, which focused on four key areas:

  • increasing public awareness about the dangers and risks associated with purchasing drugs and medical devices online
  • identifying producers and distributors of counterfeit and illegal pharmaceutical products and medical devices
  • targeting these individuals and businesses with civil or criminal action
  • seizing counterfeit and illegal products and removing them from the supply chain.

"Many U.S. consumers are being misled in the hopes of saving money by purchasing prescription drugs over the Internet from illegal pharmacies," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg in a press statement. "Unfortunately, these drugs are often counterfeit, contaminated, or unapproved products, or contain an inconsistent amount of the active ingredient. Taking these drugs can pose a danger to consumers."

The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Regulatory Affairs, and Office of Enforcement were involved in the effort, which targeted 136 websites that "appeared to be engaged in the illegal sale of unapproved or misbranded drugs to US consumers", according to the release. The effort was sponsored by the International Criminal Police Organization, the World Health Organization's International Medical Products Anticounterfeiting Task Force, the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime, and the national health and law enforcement agencies of the 24 participating countries.

www.fda.gov

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