FDA Shut Down: Fake websites, millions in illegal medications siezed

June 27, 2013

As part of a worldwide effort including law enforcement and international regulatory officials, FDA this week confiscated more than $41 million worth of illegal medicines and shut down more than 9,600 websites.

As part of a worldwide effort including law enforcement and international regulatory officials, FDA this week confiscated more than $41 million worth of illegal medicines and shut down more than 9,600 websites that allegedly sold dangerous and unapproved prescription medications.

Between June 18th and June 25th, FDA and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado seized and shut down 1,677 illegal pharmacy websites. Many of the websites falsely advertised as Canadian pharmacies and displayed fake licenses and certificates to sell drugs labeled “FDA-approved” and “brand name.” Others used the names of U.S. pharmacy retailers to trick consumers, including walgreens-store.com and c-v-s-pharmacy.com.

“Illegal online pharmacies put American consumers’ health at risk by selling potentially dangerous products. This is an ongoing battle in the United States and abroad, and the FDA will continue its criminal law enforcement and regulatory efforts,” said John Roth, director of the FDA’s office of criminal investigations. “The agency is pleased to participate in Operation Pangea to protect consumers and strengthen relationships with international partners who join in this fight.”

Operation Pangea was the largest internet-based action of its kind. It focused on websites that bypassed FDA safety controls and sold unapproved medications that could pose serious public health risks. The operation involved law enforcement, customs, and regulatory officials from 99 countries.

Some of the medications sold were Avandaryl, used to treat type 2 diabetes; generic Celebrex, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory product used to treat the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; “Levitra Super Force” and “Viagra Super Force,” used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED); and clozapine, used to treat severe schizophrenia.

FDA advises consumers who wish to purchase prescription online to use its webpage BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy to identify legal and safe online pharmacies.

 

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