PSM2012 – Payment Processing and Unlicensed Online Pharmacies

Moderator Linda Johnson, Pharmaceuticals and Health Business writer for The Associated Press, introduced Damon McCoy, researcher from George Mason University.  

Said Johnson, "Through
my work I’ve learned about the many implications that counterfeit drugs can
have on the consumer.  So many people
rely on and trust the drug supply chain for safe and effective treatment, but
the dangers of receiving counterfeit medicines means unknowning consumers are
at risk of receiving ineffective, dangerous or even lethal fake medicines."

McCoy presented original research done in conjunction with the International Computer Science Institute, ICSI.  McCoy defined advertising based e-crime uses email spam, SEO, OSN abuse and blog spam to connect consumers with unlicensed online pharmacies. Using information from a known affiliate network, Rx-Promotion, six months of gross revenues in 2010 were $7.8 million. The profits from these advertising campaigns clearly show the impact of using these spam techniques for illicit purposes.

McCoy's team purchased medications undercover, and also followed payment processing routes back to the banks that were processing transactions. Said McCoy, much
of crime ecosystem is funded by Western consumers via payment cards.  And the banking relationship is the bottleneck resource in the business model.  

He advocated payment
intervention, saying that it is hugely effective when done correctly.

Learn more about McCoy's research by reviewing his presentation here.