The ongoing New York Times series "A Toxic Pipeline" continues to shed light on the complex routes that counterfeit drugs take before being sold by Internet pharmacies, many of which purport legitimacy with Canadian, British or Australian websites.
Today, the series (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/17/world/middleeast…) focused on the “complex supply chain of fake drugs” that starts with China, goes through the United Arab Emirates, then the Bahamas and finally to Britain before making its way to U.S. buyers. This roundabout path is used to fool the customs officials and buyers into thinking that their drugs are coming from a “trusted” source.

This chilling expose shows this couldn’t be further from the truth. These drugs are made in China. Unscrupulous sellers transfer them between “Free Trade Zones” in the Middle East that have little regulation or accountability so as to hide their origins. They are shipped to the UK en route to the Bahamas for Internet sales. Once ordered by US customers, they are shipped back to the UK for a British stamp to make them appear “legitimate.”

Counterfeiters are willing to go these extra miles because the profits are worth it. And vulnerable patients are the prime targets for these creatures that sell through these questionable and dangerous sources.

Health officials worldwide are trying to better ensure the safety of our prescription drugs. The reality, however, is that coordinating worldwide regulatory bodies to effectively address this growing challenge that will not happen soon enough for those already injured by these products or those who will be.

And so our job is to stay vigilant and protect ourselves and our families. Remember, we are the last barrier to harm!

To help you, check out the tools on this website including the:

  • SAFE DRUG checklist to learn how to avoid, deter, and report suspected counterfeit drugs.
  • SAFEMEDS EMAIL ALERT SYSTEM, which broadcasts FDA Counterfeit Alert Network notices as soon as they come out.
  • Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (click here), that are accredited by The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s (NABP) as legitimate pharmacies.