A New Jersey couple pleaded guilty to charges they engaged in the unlicensed wholesale distribution of pharmaceuticals, admitting they sold fake drugs manufactured in India to customers in the United States. Nita Patel, 47, and her husband, Harshad, 53, of Closter, pleaded guilty in Camden, New Jersey, on May 16th, 2011, reported the North Jersey…[...]
The FDA has issued an alert warning American consumers to be on the look out for look-alike fake antibiotics. Dietary supplements purporting to have antibiotic or antifungal properties that actually contain no antimicrobial ingredients have been found in five states but may be found elsewhere in the US.[...]
This is a reprint of the FDA alert. Fast Facts The FDA is warning consumers not to use products marketed as dietary supplements that also claim to be antimicrobial (antibiotic, antifungal or antiviral) drugs. These illegal products are falsely promoted with claims to treat illnesses such as upper respiratory infections, sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis and the common…[...]
This is a reprint of the FDA alert. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about a potentially harmful product represented as “ExtenZe,” a dietary supplement for male sexual enhancement. The counterfeit product looks similar to the actual product, but contains hidden ingredients that can cause serious harm to consumers. The counterfeit product…[...]
Spam-based advertising is a business. While it has engendered both widespread antipathy and a multi-billion dollar anti-spam industry, it continues to exist because it fuels a profitable enterprise. We lack, however, a solid understanding of this enterprise’s full structure, and thus most anti-spam interventions focus on only one facet of the overall spam value chain…[...]
Photo of Google office sign by brionv via Flickr.[...]
Paid advertising only 1/4th of the problem; rogue pharmacies still operate in email, social media, and organic search results
The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and many other news outlets are reporting that the US Attorney’s office of Rhode Island has developed an investigation into pharmaceutical advertising practices by Google that involve rogue online pharmacies advertising on the search giant. None of the articles mention the fact that illegal online pharmacies still show up in the organic search results.
“For years we have decried the ease with which rogue pharmacies preyed on consumers through search advertising,” said Dr. Bryan Liang, Vice President of the Partnership for Safe Medicines. “These rogue pharmacies have spent years developing their spam email campaigns, organic search rank, and most recently, their social media presences. Even after this settlement, they still pose a grave health threat to consumers.”
A recent study from NABP (National Association of the Boards of Pharmacy) found that 96% of the online pharmacies they screened online were not safe for consumers, demonstrating that the danger to consumers is still very pervasive.
Use of search advertising from Google, Yahoo!, and MSN has been a convenient way for rogue pharmacies all over the world to reach American consumers with their often deadly products. The problem came to light in 2001 when teenager Ryan Haight bought prescription drugs over the Internet without a prescription and subsequently died from an overdose. In 2004, all major online search engines adopted a third party verification service to screen out illegal pharmacies.
However subsequent research into online pharmacies by Dr. Liang and Tim Mackey identified purported verification services utilized by search engines were not filtering out illegal sellers. Further, independent entities Knujon and LegitScript later confirmed that the screening service was not keeping illegal pharmacies out, and that 80-90% of the ads being placed were from online pharmacies that violate state laws.[...]
Australian customs officials in Queensland have stopped 288 packages containing counterfeit medications in the past twelve months, an increase of 7 fold from the previous year. Consumers concerned about costs, or purposefully circumventing the prescription process, have been purchasing everything from weight-loss pills to opiates on line. In many case, the drugs are marketed using…[...]
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) issued a progress report for state and federal regulators summarizing the overwhelming quantity of internet drug outlets selling prescription medications operating out of compliance with laws and patient safety standards.[...]
When a country is large and porous, keeping fake drugs out of the country isn’t as effective as keeping them out of the marketplace with new anti-counterfeit technology, reports Dr. Paul Orhii, of Nigeria.[...]