Dr. Bryan Liang, PSM Board Member, and E. Donald Shapior Distinguished Professor and Executive Director of the Institue of Health Law Studies, California Western School of Law introduced Tim K. Mackey, Alsberg Fellow for Safe Medicines.
Mackey, a doctoral student at the California Western School of Law, presented original research on Fake Online Pharmacy Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA). His presentation, available here, highlighted the growth of medically related internet use. 51% of US US users access
Internet for health information, and DTCA has increased 330% from 1996-2005, twice as fast as other forms of advertising.
Fake online pharmacies focus on consumers that are vulnerable, including drugs that are currently in shortgage, vaccines, contraception and screening tests for cancer as well as other illnesses. However DTCA has now expanded into social media as well. He and his team created their own fake online pharmacy and tracked the web analytics to determine its scope and global impact. The ease with which an fake online pharmacy can be created, including given a domain name and the ease with which advertising can be purchased highlights the dangers to consumers that trust the internet to provide authentic solutions to problems, including medication.