FDA, international partners target illicit prescription drug sales

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that it has taken legal action against 4,402 websites that had been selling illicit prescription drugs and unapproved prescription drugs.

This action was carried out with the assistance of international law enforcement and regulatory organizations as a part of the INTERPOL Operation Pangea IX. The aim of this operation is to remove illegal drugs from the supply chain. Enforcement activity took place between May 31 and June 7.

The announcement also notes a guilty plea that was reached earlier in May. Adam Alden pled guilty to introducing an unapproved drug within interstate commerce. A consumer that purchased dinitrophenol (DNP), which has been sold as a diet pill on the internet, died after taking it.

“Preventing illegal internet sales of dangerous unapproved drugs is critical to protecting consumers’ health,” Director of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations George Karavetsos said. “Operation Pangea IX demonstrates the FDA’s continuing commitment to stand united with our international partners to protect consumers in the United States and throughout the world from criminals who put profit above the health and safety of consumers.”  

During the enforcement period, the FDA reports that 797 parcels were detained and if they are found to violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act will be destroyed. Illegal online pharmacies also pose other risks that can include identity theft, computer viruses and credit card fraud.

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