How Fake Drug Criminals Snare Consumers Online
“World’s changing, technology’s advancing, and it’s important for the public policy world to engage
to make sure that we have a system in place that maintains the integrity of the supply chain.”
Congressman Jim Matheson at the 2011 Interchange
How is technology advancing in counterfeit drug crime? Learn more at the 2012 Interchange where Timothy K. Mackey, MAS, the 2011-2012 Carl L. Alsberg, MD, Fellow for Safe Medicines will present his research, "A Day in the Life of Illegal Online Drug Sellers."
Counterfeit drug sellers and fake online pharmacies use sophisticated web search redirection, IP-hijacking, and search result flooding to manipulate Internet users to purchase from their online counterfeit drug sites. American consumers can be assured of buying safely online when using VIPPS approved online pharmacies, which are approved by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. However, sorting the safe online pharmacies from the risky can be challenging, especially when done via a search engine. Until last year, no search engine company even had a policy prohibiting the carrying of search results for fake pharmacies. Even now, a web search for "Online pharmacies" turns up fake online pharmacies by the dozen.
According to research recently presented at the 2011 USENIX Security Symposium, “Legitimate pharmacies and health resources have been largely crowded out by search-redirection attacks and blog spam.” We have a regularly occurring report, “Pwned” which highlights the most egregious search-redirection attacks currently listing on web searches. Educational institutions such as MIT, UPenn, Arizona State and NMU have all shown up hosting counterfeit drug websites. So too dozens of smaller social clubs and topic-specific web groups whose volunteer nature means they are easy to exploit unnoticed.
Mackey is in the Joint Doctoral Program in Global Health, University of California San Diego School of Medicine-San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health and Senior Research Associate, Institute of Health Law Studies, California Western School of Law. He has been conducting research on Internet drug sellers and their characteristics to better promote global policy proposals to promote patient safety. His previous work on illicit online pharmacies has already appeared in leading academic publications such as the Journal of the American Medical Association and Journal of Medical Internet Research.
The Interchange, at the National Press Club, in Washington, DC, is a full day conference of policymakers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, patient advocates, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and anti-counterfeiting companies discussing the safety, health, and legal issues of counterfeit medications. Learn how fake drug criminals exploit the Internet for financial gain at the 2012 Interchange.
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