What you don't know about drug importation

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Drug importation proposals that break the closed, secured supply chain will endanger American patients and leave them unprotected by any regulator.

SAFEMEDICINES can show you how to save money by comparison shopping certified online pharmacies. People often think that the only way to save money on medication is by breaking the closed, secured supply chain to shop for overseas pharmacy bargains. But 96% of all of these ersatz overseas pharmacies are part of an unregulated global criminal enterprise that makes money at your expense and safety.

Top 9 Health Risks for Women

Many people have been poisoned, sickened and killed by medications purchased online, and researchers have found everything from heavy metals to medications removed from the market for safety issues.

Just this year, the FDA has sent 91 letters to physicians who purchased medications from outside the closed, secured supply chain and possibly treated gravely ill cancer patients with counterfeit medication that contained no active ingredient.

And every year, the Justice Department prosecutes medicine importers who illegally sell medications which can contain carcinogens and deadly substitute ingredients that have caused injury and death to patients because the medications they bring in are not regulated appropriately.

Even countries that have known good regulating agencies also suffer the problem of smugglers avoiding proper regulation, and some countries have rules that say that if a medication is just “passing through” it doesn’t need to be regulated at all.  This allows counterfeiters in India and China to set up shell companies in countries Americans deem to be safe to trick them into believing they are purchasing regulated medicine from first world countries.

Additional resources

History of Online Pharmacy Regulation

Interested in what different policies have been applied to the online pharmacy space?  Check out our history which includes major events and players in the online pharmacy space.

Congressional Briefings

Periodically we present key information to policymakers and the media on Capitol Hill.  Take a moment and watch a recording of our briefing even if you weren’t able to attend.

Principles for Drug Safety / International Principles for Drug Safety

The Principles for Drug Safety (and it’s international counterpart) is an excellent starting point for crafting policies that create a drug distribution system that is without compromise.

SafeMeds Alert System and Weekly Counterfeit News

The SafeMeds email alert system echoes counterfeit drug and drug safety alerts from the US FDA, the Canadian FDA, the MHRA, and other regulators worldwide via it’s email list.  We also cover incidents of drug counterfeiting around the world and send a weekly news summary.  To sign up, fill out the form on the left side of this page for “Breaking News”.

Consumer Resources

Handouts for consumers that help educate them on how to buy and save money on their prescription safely, minimizing the risk of getting counterfeit drugs.  Many available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Counterfeit Drug Fact Sheet (updated May 16, 2011)

What is a counterfeit medicine?  Why are counterfeit medicines a problem?  How large a problem are counterfeit medicines?

What is pharmacovigilance? (updated June 22, 2011)

It’s a big word that rarely fits into a headline, but it’s an important topic that is often mentioned in the context of the counterfeit drug problem.  What is it?    Who’s pursuing it?

How Can Counterfeit Drugs Be Useful to Terrorists? (Updated March 27, 2013)

Keeping the American drug supply chain intact not only protects Americans from the dangers of counterfeit drugs; it also offers extra protection from terrorist attacks and prevents terrorist organizations from using counterfeit drug sales to fund their operations.

Billing Insurance Companies for Imported Drugs Is a Crime (Updated March 27, 2013)

Medical professionals who bill government health programs for illegally imported drugs are prosecutable under the Federal False Claims Act, which, among other things, forbids “knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented a false claim for payment or approval” and “knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim.”

What does the Canadian government have to say about online ‘Canadian’ pharmacies? (Updated March 27, 2013)

It’s not just the FDA who believes that it’s not safe to purchase prescription drugs from Canadian web pharmacies.  Health Canada agrees.

Shopping at Internet Pharmacies Poses a Genuine Danger To Maine’s Heart Disease Sufferers (April 3, 2013)

According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, 97% of all online pharmacies are not operating within US laws and regulations. In Maine, where 1 in 4 residents  suffer some form of heart disease, this means that a Maine heart disease sufferer has just a 3% chance of finding a legitimate online pharmacy when searching for the medication on the Internet.

Counterfeit Diabetes Treatments Show Up All Over the Globe (April 3, 2013)

Counterfeiting of diabetes medicines, test strips and needles are widespread over the whole world. They’ve been found in Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, India, the United States, the United Kingdon and even Canada.

Internet Savvy Seniors Need to be Savvy About the Threat of Counterfeit Drugs (April 3, 2013)

As seniors take to the Internet in even greater numbers, will they be able to spot the difference between an FDA-approved online pharmacy,11 and a fake pharmacy that only claims to be in Canada?

Counterfeit Cancer Drugs Are A Big Money Maker for Fake Drug Criminals (April 4, 2013)

Counterfeit cancer drugs have been found in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries in the European Union, Israel, and China in the last seven years.  The cancer treatments varied, but the one thing they had in common was that they were all fake.

Counterfeit HIV Medication: Profitable for Criminals but Dangerous for Patients (April 4, 2013)

In the United States, patients who circumvent US Food and Drug Administration protections by shopping at illicit online pharmacies are exposing themselves to counterfeit drug dangers comparable to those in countries where the pharmaceutical supply chain is not secure.