Illegal Online Drug Sale Crackdown by FDA, Interpol

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Some of the actions the Agency has taken include sending 13 warning letters to the operators of 401 websites and seizing almost 100 website domain names.
Some of the actions the Agency has taken include sending 13 warning letters to the operators of 401 websites and seizing almost 100 website domain names.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cracked down on over 500 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved medications to US consumers.1

Some of the actions the Agency has taken include sending 13 warning letters to the operators of 401 websites and seizing almost 100 website domain names. These efforts to curb the illegal sale of drugs online were carried out as part of Operation Pangea X led by Interpol, who worked closely with the FDA. Warning letters were sent to inform the operators of the websites in question that they are in violation of US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

“These rogue online pharmacies are often run by sophisticated criminal networks that knowingly and unlawfully distribute illicit drugs, including counterfeit medicines and controlled substances,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.

FDA inspections of packages suspected of containing illegal drug products at mailing facilities in Chicago, Miami and New York resulted in almost 500 parcels being detained. The Agency has tripled the number of staff at International Mailing Facilities and doubled the number of cybercrime and port of entry special agents. 

In addition to the actions of Operation Pangea X, Dr. Gottlieb said, "The FDA is also working on a comprehensive Enforcement Operations Work Plan that's focused on combating the sale of foreign unapproved drugs to U.S. consumers and aimed at increasing the scope of our operations related to these risks."

In a statement, the FDA said that products on sites they identified during the operation may be counterfeit, contaminated, expired or otherwise unsafe. The Agency is encouraging consumers to report suspected criminal activity to the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation

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Reference

  1. FDA conducts major global operation to protect consumers from potentially dangerous prescription drugs sold online [news release]. FDA. Updated September 25, 2017. Accessed September 29, 2017.
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