Amid crackdown, FDA snuffs websites peddling counterfeit drugs
American and international regulators have seized more than $41 million in illegal medicines worldwide and shut down 1,677 websites as part of their ongoing fight against counterfeit drugs sold over the Internet.
The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it used warrants to seize website domain names and post messages letting visitors know that people who traffic in counterfeit drugs may face severe penalties under federal law. The message offers a link to a site — www.fda.gov/BeSafeRx — that explains the risks of fake online pharmacies.
Experts say the Internet is filled with illegitimate, professional-looking sites that peddle drugs. The FDA began a campaign last fall to warn consumers that the vast majority of online pharmacies do not follow laws or pharmacy industry standards, and their products could harm or even kill.
The moves took place as part of a weeklong crackdown organized by the international police agency Interpol that ended Sunday.
Investigators visited the websites and used undercover IDs to order the drugs. They received counterfeit drugs that were not approved by the FDA. Some arrived with no directions for use and in strengths and quantities not available in the United States. Some also had different ingredients than the real drugs, which can be very dangerous to the patients taking them.
“You essentially have no idea what it is that you would be buying and what you would be taking,” said John Roth, director of the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.