If you are looking for a perfect example of caveat emptor (buyer beware) look no further than internet pharmacies. For years, shady companies have been selling god-knows-what to people who are looking to save money, get around a doctor s prescription or who are simply naive.
But as of yesterday, thanks to the FDA, it became quite a bit harder for these companies to conduct business as usual.
Using undercover investigators and court warrants, the agency seized about $40 million in illegally sold medicines and shut down 1,677 websites that peddled drugs of questionable quality.
A press release by the FDA paints a very scary picture of what is really being sold over the internet. Most of the time, it s not what you think you re getting:
Many of these websites appeared to be operating as a part of an organized criminal network that falsely purported its websites to be Canadian Pharmacies. These websites displayed fake licenses and certifications to convince U.S. consumers to purchase drugs they advertised as brand name and FDA approved. The drugs received as part of Operation Pangea [the name given to the operation] were not from Canada, and were neither brand name nor FDA approved. These websites also used certain major U.S. pharmacy retailer names to trick U.S. consumers into believing an affiliation existed with these retailers.
And, a recent statement released by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which accredits online pharmacies, revealed that only 3 percent of the 10,000 internet pharmacies they examined were in compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws.
Dr. Bloom comments, Yikes. ACSH has been following the counterfeit drug problem for years, but this is worse than even I expected. He advises, This is not the way to save money. Although the low prices and lack of requirement of a physician s prescription may seem tempting, you are literally taking your life in your hands if you get your drugs this way.