In an October 6th op-ed piece for The Hill, Partnership for Safe Medicines board member Jim Dahl described the growing threat that counterfeit drugs pose to U.S. patients, and asks Congress and the Federal Government to step up efforts to stop the spread of counterfeit drugs and fake online pharmacies.

Jim Dahl, a retired Assistant Director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations , and member of the Partnership for Safe Medicines board, raised awareness of the risks of counterfeit drugs in the United States in an opinion piece in the Hill,titled “Stopping the Spread of Counterfeit Drugs and Illegal Internet Pharmacies,” Mr. Dahl talked about the danger posed to U.S. patients by fake online pharmacies, fake drug distributors and their insidious methods to con even doctors into buy dangerous unapproved drugs.

Mr. Dahl called for increased consumer awareness and greater resources for the Food and Drug Administration: “Patient awareness isn’t anywhere near the level it needs to be to ensure people can make informed decisions when purchasing medicines over the internet. Agencies like the FDA should be given the resources to better educate Americans about the health and safety dangers from purchasing from rogue online pharmacies.”

Funding should also be increased for investigation and enforcement, wrote Dahl, because “the overtasked, underfunded and very small Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) within the FDA” bears the brunt of responsibility for investigating these crimes. New funding is essential because of the ever increasing presence of illegal and fake internet pharmacies. “The FDA and other agencies are doing the best with what they have, but Congress and the Obama Administration must get more involved. The risks to patients are simply too great to merely hope that another Avastin incident doesn’t happen again.”

Dahl’s experience with fake medications and American patients are further elucidated in his panel talk at the Partnership For Safe Medicines’ Interchange, available here.

Learn more about how fake pharmacies make millions while duping Americans into buying unsafe medication in the new PSM publication, “Rogues Gallery, Horrors and Heroes.” It explains who the criminals are that tricked Americans into purchasing counterfeit cancer drugs and other faked vital medications, as well as the story of brave nurses who spotted the fakes and protected patients.

By S. Imber