FDA Fights Online Counterfeit Drugs

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The agency takes action against websites that illegally sell unapproved medications.


FDA announced on June 18, 2015 that the agency and international law enforcement agencies have taken action against websites that sell unapproved prescription drugs and medical devices to consumers. FDA has issued regulatory warnings and seized illegal medicines and medical devices worldwide during Operation Pangea VIII, part of the INTERPOL-led Eighth Annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA).  IIWA is an international cooperative effort to combat counterfeit drugs sold on the Internet that includes 111 participating countries and several law enforcement agencies.

Nearly 400 websites that offer unapproved or misbranded drugs to US patients received FDA Warning Letters. Illegal drug products were seized from International Mail Facilities in Chicago, Miami, and New York, with 814 packages detained and referred to FDA. Drugs seized included unapproved antidepressants, hormone replacement therapies, sleep aids, erectile dysfunction treatments, and high cholesterol medications.


“Our efforts to protect the health of American patients by preventing the online sale of potentially dangerous illegal medical products will not cease,” said George Karavetsos, director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, in a press release. “Operation Pangea VIII provides yet another avenue for the FDA to engage with our international law enforcement partners on these critical issues. We are not only pleased to be a part of this strong international enforcement effort, but resolved to do everything we can to ensure that the global problem of illegal Internet drug and device sales is deterred as a result.”

Source: FDA