FDA Says Most Online Pharmacies Are Frauds

Monday, October 08, 2012
Man Buying Drugs Online (Graphic-FDA)


The vast majority of online pharmacies are not to be trusted, says the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


As part of a new national campaign, the FDA contends that almost all Internet drug stores are frauds that often sell counterfeit drugs. The FDA also says Americans should not do business with any online pharmacy located outside the United States.


Data from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) backs the FDA’s assertion. The NABP concluded only 3% of online pharmacies follow state and federal laws, and has endorsed only a few dozen of the businesses.


Fraudulent drug stores engage in such risky practices as selling medicines that are contaminated, out of date or contain no active ingredients, according to the FDA.


One example cited by the agency involved Avastin, an expensive cancer treatment. FDA officials said they found some online pharmacies were selling a fake version of the drug made either in Asia or Eastern Europe.


This week, federal agents shut down 700 U.S.-based web sites selling counterfeit pharmaceuticals.


The FDA has launched a web site, www.FDA.gov/BeSafeRx, to help consumers who want to buy medication online. The FDA urges consumers beware of online pharmacies that:

·      Offer deep discounts or cheap prices that seem too good to be true

·      Send spam or unsolicited email offering cheap drugs

·      Are located outside of the United States

·      Are not licensed in the United States


Safe online pharmacies are those that:

·      Always require a doctor’s prescription

·      Provide a physical address and telephone number in the United States

·      Offer a pharmacist to answer your questions

·      Have a license with your state board of pharmacy.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

FDA Warns of Risks of Online Pharmacies (by Linda Johnson, Associated Press)

Baltimore Agents Lead National Seizure of Illegal Drug Websites (by Kevin Rector, Baltimore Sun)

Buying Medicines Over the Internet (Food and Drug Administration)

Know the Signs (Food and Drug Administration)


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