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FDA takes action against fake pharmacies

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 29, 2013

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The Federal Drug Administration, with the help of international agencies from 99 other countries, shut down more than 1,600 illegal online pharmacies.

As part of a weeklong investigation in late June, the FDA took regulatory action against 9,600 websites, including 1,677 that were seized and shut down. Most of the shuttered pharmacies were operating purportedly as Canadian pharmacies. They displayed fake licenses and certifications to lead consumers to believe the drugs were name brand and FDA-approved, according to the agency. The FDA found that the drugs were not from Canada, were not name brand, nor were they FDA-approved. Some of the websites were designed to look as if they were affiliated with large retail pharmacy chains. More than $41 million worth of drugs was seized as part of the operation.

The FDA said this was the largest Internet-based action of its kind. The agency said in addition to health risks from nonapproved drugs, these illegal pharmacies pose risks to consumers for credit card fraud, identity theft and computer viruses. The FDA has a website to help consumers determine if an online pharmacy is safe (link).

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