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Illegal Online Pharmacies Shut Down by FDA

News Briefs

Late last month the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that, “in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies,” it cracked down on over five hundred illegal online pharmacies marketing opioids and other prescription drugs (FDA, 2017). 


According to the FDA, 


These actions were part of a major global operation that the FDA participated in to target illegal drugs being marketed online, and shipped and distributed through the postal system, directly to American consumers. . . . Patients who buy prescription medicines from illegal online pharmacies may be putting their health at risk because the products, while being passed off as authentic, may be counterfeit, contaminated, expired or otherwise unsafe (2017).


Under the ten-year-old Operation Pangea, “an annual worldwide event aimed at curbing the sale and distribution of unapproved drugs,” the FDA has “seized one hundred website domains for online pharmacies and issued thirteen cease-and-desist letters to another four hundred sites” (Fuhr, 2017). They also apprehended five hundred packages from illegal websites. 


According to Scott Gottlieb, MD, commissioner of the FDA, “These rogue online pharmacies are often run by sophisticated criminal networks that knowingly and unlawfully distribute illicit drugs, including counterfeit medicines and controlled substances. Consumers go to these websites believing that they are buying safe and effective medications, but they are being deceived and put at risk by individuals who put financial gains above patient safety” (FDA, 2017). 


This most recent effort “involved 123 countries, saw over four hundred people arrested, and $51 million of medications seized” (Fuhr, 2017). 












Fuhr, P. (2017). FDA cracks down on illegal online pharmacies. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/fda-cracks-down-illegal-online-pharmacies
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA conducts major global operation to protect consumers from potentially dangerous prescription drugs sold online. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm577178.htm