Rogue Pharmacies Using Facebook To Hook Victims
Counterfeit Cialis advertised on a Facebook page on the left. Authentic Cialis pictured courtesy of Lilly, on the right.
Rogue pharmacies are now advertising by using Facebook’s social networking interface.
A brief search on Facebook for term “Viagra” popped up 90 pages. One page, entitled “viagra” [sic] is a Product/Service page and has almost 7,000 fans. The profile picture is a stack of blue diamond shaped pills labeled Pfizer. There are 91 photos, many of which link to a website, www.helpgodhealth.com that are labeled with tags like “No Prescription Internet Pharmacy – Worldwide Delivery – Trial Packs.” Most pictures are tagged with a list of prices.
Generic Viagra, for instance, is available in 50mg pills at $24.96 for 10 pills, or $2.50 a pill. At a $1.00 per pill, the volume discount if 360 are ordered sounds like a great deal.
However there is no legal generic to Viagra. Pfizer confirms that so called generic Viagra is fake and can be unsafe. “The FDA has never approved the ‘generic VIAGRA’ you see for sale online. In fact—selling it is against the law. And if you buy it, you may end up with a dangerous counterfeit that can cause you harm.” In addition to Viagra, and “generic Viagra,” this Facebook page purports to sell Cialis, Levitra, CaliPlus and Kamagra, with links to other websites, including viagra-drugstore.org, onlinecheappills.com, rxoffer.com, herbalimpotencepills.com, reliable-tablets.com, obatkuatsexonline.com and viagramedics.com.
Of these domain names, viagra-drugstore.org and rxoffer.com are known rogue pharmacies. LegitScript “reviewed these Internet pharmacies and determined that they do not meet LegitScript Internet pharmacy verification standards.” Additionally LegitScript defines these websites as "Rogue Internet Pharmacy,” because they intentionally violate Federal and state laws, don’t adhere to accepted medicine and pharmacy practice standards, and engage in fraudulent or deceptive business practices. None of the others appear on LegitScript’s approved list, nor do they have either the VIPPS Seal of Safety, nor are they listed in the VIPPS database.
This Facebook page advertises Viagra softabs which, according to Pfizer, are an obvious sign you’re dealing with counterfeits. Says Pfizer, “’Real VIAGRA tablets are solid. There's no ‘soft tab,’ ‘gel tab’ or ‘chewable tab’ form.”
"The expanding presence of illegal online drug sellers in Facebook reaffirms our JAMA findings that reported not only Facebook, but also Twitter and other social media is being infiltrated by these illegal actors," said Professor Bryan A. Liang, Vice President of PSM. "These results indicate the immediate need to look for and address these illegal actors and their harmful activities. But the evolution of the criminal presence in social media will not wait for global regulation. We need a focused law enforcement and policy effort to keep up with criminal innovators who adapt to a rapidly changing digital environment."
The page also offers pictures of so-called Cialis tablets. Those pictured, however, do not resemble real Cialis, and are advertised as “soft tabs.” Lilly, the manufacturer of Cialis says that these are signs of counterfeits as well. There is no “…’soft tab,’ or ‘fast dissolve’ CIALIS. There is no generic for CIALIS, and CIALIS only comes as an almond-shaped tablet that is swallowed whole.”
In addition to this one page with 90 advertisements for internet pharmacies, there are at least 90 other “Viagra” pages on Facebook also associated with internet pharmacies. While many were names including the word “Viagra” some blatantly advertised their purpose in the Page or Friend name like “Viagra-Store Jakarta,” “Indian Viagra,” “Viagra-Store Net,” “Generic Viagra,” “Buy Viagra,” “Viagra-freeonline.com,” and “Pour Bien Grandir…Prend du Viagra!!!”
A Facebook search for Cialis found 53 pages advertising internet pharmacies, in many languages, such as “Potenzmittel Apotheke,” or “Erectile dysfunction drug pharmacy” in German, “Cialis Ohne Rezept” and “Cialis Generico Tadalfil,” with direct links to online pharmacy sites embedded in names, pictures tags, and wall posts.
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