In an effort to raise public awareness about the dangers of medicines purchased through fake pharmacies online, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) today issued a rare “public health alert.”

A new study by NABP found that 96 percent of 8,000 rogue websites analyzed continue to operate out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws, fuel prescription drug abuse, and provide an outlet for counterfeit medicines to enter the U.S. drug supply – all of which significantly endanger the health and safety of Americans. Most of these sites will sell without a valid prescription and 3,687 offer non-FDA-approved drugs. They could be selling dangerous counterfeit medicines that may contain toxic ingredients or not enough of the active ingredient to do what the medicine is supposed to do.

In the announcement of the alert, NABP warned, “The fake online pharmacy crisis has reached an epidemic level, they prey on prescription drug abusers and the most vulnerable members of society who rely on medicine every day for their health. They offer easy access to potent medicines without a prescription and indiscriminately push dangerous counterfeit drugs.

In an effort to raise public awareness about the dangers of medicines purchased through fake pharmacies online, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) today issued a rare “public health alert.” A new study by NABP found that 96 percent of 8,000 rogue websites analyzed continue to operate out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws, fuel prescription drug abuse, and provide an outlet for counterfeit medicines to enter the U.S. drug supply – all of which significantly endanger the health and safety of Americans.  Most of these sites will sell without a valid prescription and 3,687 offer non-FDA-approved drugs. They could be selling dangerous counterfeit medicines that may contain toxic ingredients or not enough of the active ingredient to do what the medicine is supposed to do.    

In the announcement of the alert, NABP warned, “The fake online pharmacy crisis has reached an epidemic level, they prey on prescription drug abusers and the most vulnerable members of society who rely on medicine every day for their health. They offer easy access to potent medicines without a prescription and indiscriminately push dangerous counterfeit drugs. This problem poses a clear danger to Americans’ health and safety and weakens the essential relationships between pharmacists and patients.  By issuing a public health alert, we are calling on pharmacists, physicians and other health professionals to educate their patients about the growing public health threat posed by these illegal online enterprises. ”

Read more about this global health risk here.

As indicated by today’s public alert, the health and safety risks associated with fake online pharmacies are very real. Fake medicines peddled by these sites have been found to contain toxic, deadly ingredients while others don’t contain enough active ingredients at all to do what the medicine is supposed to do. While the counterfeit problem is largely outside the U.S. today, the risk of more counterfeit drugs entering the U.S. could be heightened if Congress compromises our current closed, protected medicine supply chain by allowing medicine importation.