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FDA Crushes Illegal Online Pharmacies

The latest campaign sees over 22,000 websites shut down, and 3.7 million doses of counterfeit meds seized.

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The end of a golden age of drug scams?
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By McCarton Ackerman

10/05/12

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The FDA is using the power of the Internet to fight illegal online pharmacies. The fifth International Internet Week of Action, held from September 25-October 2, is a global effort to fight the online sale and distribution of potentially counterfeit and illegal meds. Through the efforts of this campaign—joining forces with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies from around 100 countries—more than 18,000 illegal pharmacy websites were shut down and 3.7 million doses of counterfeit medicine seized. An additional 4,100 internet pharmacies were shut down yesterday and 79 arrests have been made. "Consumers in the United States and around the world face a real threat from Internet pharmacies that illegally sell potentially substandard, counterfeit, adulterated or otherwise unsafe medicines," says FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg. "This week's efforts show that strong international enforcement efforts are required to combat this global public health problem." One of the targeted web pharmacies was Canadadrugs, which the FDA has previously warned and accused of selling drugs made by unapproved manufacturers for unapproved use, among other infractions. Canadadrugs was also accused of producing fake versions of the cancer drug Avastin that made their way into US oncology clinics, a claim the company denies. Other online pharmacies that were busted sold drugs including "Female Viagra"—which doesn't exist—and unapproved variations such as "Viagra Professional" and "Cialis Super Active."

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