FDA Goes After Unsafe Online Pharmacies

FDA is working to close online pharmacies that sell unsafe products to people in the U.S.

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Some online pharmacies sell drugs that are not approved in the U.S. and may be unsafe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to shut down some of them.

The FDA went after 4,100 internet pharmacies that sell illegal or unsafe products in the U.S. They worked to get websites taken down and to file civil or criminal charges against the owners of the pharmacies.

"Talk to your local pharmacist about safe online options."

The FDA took action between September 25 and October 2 as part of an international operation, known as Operation Pangea V.

Globally, the operation set out to close 18,000 pharmacies worldwide that violate laws around the world.

The FDA targeted 4,100 pharmacies that they knew to be involved in selling unsafe products to customers in the U.S.

They sent warning letters to the pharmacies that they found to be involved in unsafe practices.

To ensure that these pharmacies could no longer take orders from U.S. customers, they also notified internet registries and internet service providers that the sites were selling drugs illegally in the U.S.

Some of the internet pharmacies targeted by the FDA were selling medications without a prescription. 

For example, they went after pharmacies that were selling Viagra (sildenafil citrate) without a prescription. Viagra should not be taken without a prescription and needs doctor supervision because of potentially harmful side effects and drug interactions.

The FDA also went after pharmacies selling drugs that were deemed dangerous by the FDA. Some pharmacies were selling drugs that had been removed from the U.S. market for safety reasons. 

They also went after pharmacies selling a counterfeit version of Tamiflu. The cheap, online version does not have the right active ingredient and will not help fight the flu.

FDA asks consumers to report any illegal or unsafe online pharmacies here: www.fda.gov/oci.

The FDA also recently launched a campaign to help people choose better online pharmacies.  The “BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy” program information can be accessed in the citation below. 

The FDA press release about this action was published on the FDA website on October 4.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 10, 2012
Last Updated:
October 14, 2012