Strategies to combat online counterfeit drug supply

July 24, 2012
From staff reports
From staff reports

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy issued a report last week that called for international collaboration among regulators and other public agencies to help combat the ongoing problem of the online counterfeit drug supply.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) issued a report last week that called for international collaboration among regulators and other public agencies to help combat the ongoing problem of the online counterfeit drug supply.

Counterfeit drugs, which are sold online, often are obtained by unwary consumers through a complex chain of international transactions by multiple parties. It will take international, public, and private efforts to rein in this illegal activity, according to an NABP report, “Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: July 2012.”

Of the more than 10,000 websites that were analyzed, 97% were found to be out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards established in the United States. “Such sites provide an outlet for counterfeit medicines to enter the U.S. drug supply, endangering the health and safety of Americans,” according to an NABP statement.

The NABP report provides an overview of collaborative strategies from pharmacy experts to stop the distribution of online counterfeit drugs. Experts on international health law and global pharmaceutical security have asserted that rogue online drug sellers work with a network of private sector entities to obtain, market, and collect payment for the distribution of counterfeit or substandard drug products, the NABP said. These experts from both the public and private sectors call for partnerships to promote the adoption of effective laws, regulations, and policies to address all levels of this complex chain, along with effective enforcement efforts.

NABP President Michael A. Burleson, RPh, expressed the need to raise awareness about counterfeit medicine and rogue online sellers, giving special emphasis to recent endeavors including international pharmacy initiatives and the AWARxE Consumer Protection Program. “Focusing on the topics of safe drug disposal, online pharmacies, and counterfeit drug dangers, AWARxE educates consumers on prescription drug safety,” he said.

The 9,734 Internet drug outlets currently listed as Not Recommended can be found here.