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Government and private sector efforts take on counterfeit drugs online.
How bad is the problem of illegal online pharmacies? One in six Americans has purchased a prescription drug online without a valid prescription, according to research presented by The Partnership at Drugfree.org during the White House Forum on Intellectual Property (IP) Theft in December 2010. That means 36 million Americans were at risk for buying counterfeit and substandard drugs from rogue pharmacy websites.
Speaking at the forum, US Attorney General Eric Holder noted examples of ways the Department of Justice is working to protect consumer health and safety, including the prosecution of counterfeit traffickers, the seizure of more than 80 websites selling counterfeit goods, and the use of new technologies and public-education campaigns. He called for more cooperation between government agencies, foreign regulators, and industry, saying, "The Internet remains a haven for illegal pharmacies and other operations that pose a danger to the American people, and we need a concerted, collaborative effort to put these illegal operations out of business."
A voluntary partnership made up of Google, Microsoft, and several other companies will target illegal online pharmacies and work to stop the sale of fake drugs. Along with American Express, eNom, GoDaddy, MasterCard, Neustar, Network Solutions, PayPal, Visa and Yahoo!, the companies agreed to form a nonprofit organization focused on fighting the spread of counterfeit drugs on the Internet by eradicating rogue pharmacies.
For a related story, see this month's Viewpoint column on illegal drug reimportation on p. 98.
Alexis Pellek is an assistant editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.
Read Alexis's blogs at blog.PharmTech.com.