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FDA Cracking Down on Online Pharmacies That Put Patients at Risk

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on online pharmacies that are selling potentially dangerous drugs and medical devices. The agency recently sent warning letters to more than 1,000 websites across the globe.

As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy found that less than three percent of online pharmacies meet state and federal laws. In many cases, the medications may be counterfeit, contaminated, expired, or otherwise unsafe.

The FDA’s new campaign, BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy, highlights the risks of fake online pharmacies. For instance, medications sold by online pharmacies may contain the wrong ingredients, contain the incorrect mix of active ingredient or none at all, or include potentially harmful substances. In addition, drugs that may be approved in other countries or produced by unknown sources may have slight variations that could worsen your condition or cause harmful interactions.

The FDA’s latest actions to address fraudulent online pharmacies included sending warning letters to the operators of nearly 400 websites offering unapproved or misbranded prescription medicines to U.S. patients and to nine firms distributing unapproved medical devices online.

According to the FDA’s press statement, some of the websites targeted purport sell FDA-approved generic versions of brand name drugs, including: “Generic Nolvadex,” “Generic Meridia,” “Generic Valium,” “Generic Truvada,” and “Generic Advair Diskus.” Medical devices sold illegally online included: “The Ondamed System” and “Colon Care Products of PA Open System Colon Hydrotherapy Device (Grace)” as well as illegal dermal fillers such as “Interfall Hydrogel polyacrylamide dermal filler,” “Dermafil hyaluronic acid dermal filler,” and “Teosyal hyaluronic acid dermal filler.”

Of course, not all online pharmacies are unsafe. The FDA also offers advice for patients on how to identify a safe, legal online pharmacy. Below are a few hallmarks of a legitimate operation:

  • Always require a doctor’s prescription
  • Provide a physical address and telephone number in the United States
  • Offer a pharmacist to answer your questions
  • Have a license with your state board of pharmacy.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dangerous or defective drug or medical device, don’t hesitate to contacta San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.