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Monday, July 8, 2013

FDA Shutdown Thousands of Online Pharmacies

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The Internet has made it possible for people to acquire medications without prescriptions for a long time and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is now taking steps to shut down illegal online pharmacies.

On Thursday, the FDA announced it has shut down 1,677 illegal online pharmacies, CNN reports. Counterfeit or substandard medications have been sold without appropriate safeguards through international websites.

Over $41 million worth of illegal medicines were seized and 58 people were arrested, according to the report. Many of the websites were using names that were similar to legitimate pharmacies. The FDA closed Walgreens-Store.com which was not associated with the pharmacy chain Walgreens.

More than 100 countries cooperated with the FDA’s mass shutdown of the online pharmacies.

“These products can have none of the active ingredient that people need for the treatment of their disease,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “They can have too much or too little (of the ingredient); they can have toxic ingredients, and they can prevent patients from getting the actual medications that they badly need to treat their disease.”

The recent move to combat illegal online pharmacies is a huge step in the right direction in the fight against improper medication distribution.

“Illegal online pharmacies put American consumers’ health at risk by selling potentially dangerous products. This is an ongoing battle in the United States and abroad, and the FDA will continue its criminal law enforcement and regulatory efforts,” John Roth, Director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, said in a news release.
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