The FDA along with several international regulatory and law enforcement agencies took action this week against over 4,000 websites that were illegally selling dangerous and unapproved prescription drugs to U.S. consumers. This effort was part of an Operation called Pangea IX which was a global cooperative effort that included INTERPOL to stop the unlawful sale and distribution of illegal and potentially counterfeit medical products around the world.
During the operation which included suspension of 4,402 websites, warning letters to the operators of 53 websites illegally offering unapproved and misbranded prescription drug products for sale to U.S. consumers. FDA inspectors, in collaboration with other federal agencies, screened and seized illegal drug products received through IMFs in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.
Initial research from drug products screened at the IMFs show that customers had bought unapproved drug products from abroad to treat depression, narcolepsy, high cholesterol, glaucoma, and asthma, among other diseases. Consumers should be cautious when buying prescription drugs online. For tips on how to identify an illegal pharmacy website and advice on how to find a safe online pharmacy go to BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy.