FDA Targets Illegal Online Pharmacies
FDA, in partnership with other federal and international agencies, took action against websites that sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs to US consumers. FDA and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also conducted examinations at US-based international mail facilities, where many packages containing prescription drugs enter the US, and found that most of the examined packages contained illegal prescription drugs that had been ordered from online sources.
These actions took place in support of the 7th annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA) sponsored by Interpol, and also known as Operation Pangea VII. During Operation Pangea VII, law enforcement, customs, and regulatory authorities from 111 countries collaborated to identify the makers and distributors of illegal drug products and medical devices that used the Internet to sell their products and remove these products from the supply chain.
Operation Pangea VII‘s coordinated efforts at mail facilities resulted in the detention or seizure of 19,618 packages containing medicines purportedly from Australia, the UK, New Zealand, and Canada. These packages contained unapproved or suspected counterfeit drugs from other countries, such as India, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Mexico, Laos, Malaysia, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.
The FDA and the CBP inspected packages at the mail facilities in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and detained or seized 583 packages. Preliminary findings show that certain drug products from abroad, such as insulin, estrogen, bimatoprost, human chorionic gonadotropin, tramadol, tadalafil, and sildenafil citrate were on their way to US consumers. The FDA also notified Internet service providers, domain name registrars, and related organizations that 1975 websites were selling products in violation of US Law.