FDA targets online illegal prescription drugs sellers

pharmafile | June 10, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing FDA, Ireland, illegal drug sales 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in partnership with an INTERPOL-led global collaborative effort, has announced that it has taken action against 4,402 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription medicines to customers in the US.

Operation Pangea IX has been designed to identify the makers and distributors of illegal prescription drug products and to remove them from the supply chain. From May 31 to June 7 2016, the FDA conducted inspections at International Mail Facilities (IMFs) in coordination with US Customs and Border Protection.

As a result, formal complaints were made to domain registrars requesting the suspension of the 4,402 websites. Among the banned websites, 110 of them sold DNP (2,4-dinitrophenol), which is most often used as a dye, wood preserver and herbicide, as a weight loss product.

As part of the action taken, FDA inspectors screened and seized 797 potentially suspensions parcels at IMFs in San Francisco, Chicago and New York.

This news from the FDA comes on the same day that Irish law enforcement seized over 60,000 units of illegal prescription medicines worth around €350,000. Also, part of Operation Pangea IX, this Irish haul forms part of the 11.1 million drug units seized with a value of €31 million.

The drugs seized in Ireland had been bought from online vendors, and included anabolic steroids, erectile dysfunction drugs and even abortion pills (abortion remains illegal in the country).

Lorraine Nolan, chief executive of the Health Products Regulatory Authority, comments: “From tests on some products detained in recent years, many of these medicines contain too much or too little or no active ingredient at all – there are simply no guarantees as to what is contained in the products.

“No online pharmacy is authorised to supply prescription medicines into Ireland and members of the public are reminded that, under the law, the supply of prescription medicines by mail order (including the internet) is prohibited. They are putting their health at risk.”

Sean Murray

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