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Partnerka, Counterfeit Drugs and the New Counterfeit Spam

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) has long reported on the growing issue of pharmaceutical spam advertising—and now SophosLab Canada has taken a closer look at the solicitation of counterfeit products online.

Marvin D. Shepherd, PhD Shepherd (sm)

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) has long reported on the growing issue of pharmaceutical spam advertising—and now SophosLab Canada has taken a closer look at the solicitation of counterfeit products online.

According to their new report, “The Partnerka: What Is it and Why Should You Care?,” one of the most influential counterfeit networks are the Russian partnerka, which are comprised of hundreds of well-organized spammer affiliate networks that fan out across the world—all working to drive as much traffic to partner sites (and stores) as possible.

And while today’s email services have anti-spam filters to help protect our inboxes, the Internet offers many other ways for the partnerka to peddle their counterfeits, including blogs, online forums and social networking sites.

In addition to buying advertisements on these platforms, spammers employ black hat search engine optimization methods to promote their Web sites and position them in front of Web users conducting searches on similar items. These techniques include creating Web sites that trick search engines into thinking they contain helpful content to Web searchers, as well posting spam messages on blogs, message boards and social networking sites—which are not subject to the same legal and technological requirements as their email counterparts.

As technology changes, so too do the tactics of unscrupulous counterfeit drug peddlers. The PSM reminds Web users to be wary of Web sites or Internet advertisements that promise cheap prescription drugs without physician authorization.

The PSM has a wealth of information about avoiding the threat of counterfeit drugs online. Check out our Web site’s Consumer Information section for more information.

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