The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on websites illegally selling and distributing prescription drugs. The FDA, along with other international agencies, seized packages with illegal prescription drugs and took actions against websites selling prescriptions without proper licensing. Black market prescriptions may be highly dangerous, the FDA warns.
“When consumers buy prescription drugs from outside the legitimate supply chain, they cannot know if the medicines they receive are counterfeit or even if they contain the right active ingredient in the proper dosages,” Douglas Stearn, director of the FDA’s Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, wrote in an FDA news release. “Consumers have little or no legal recourse if they experience a reaction to the unregulated medication or if they receive no therapeutic benefit at all.”
Moreover, consumers may be exposing themselves to other dangers as well — including identity and/or credit card theft.
As of it stands, the FDA and other federal agencies may take legal action against websites and servers only. “It is unlikely that the individual consumer will be punished for purchasing illegal prescription drugs because they may not even realizing they are committing a crime,” The Legal Examiner explains.
Most of the sites received warnings, indicating that the FDA is aware of illegal activity and sales. The FDA has not disclosed any more details about offenders and possible charges, if any.
“This is a growing problem, particularly since we have an aging population. The bigger problem is patient adherence, and quality of the drugs. Going to your local pharmacy can ensure a patient is counseled properly on how to take their medications, and to ensure there are no interactions with the current prescriptions the patient is taking,” says Mike from Retail Management Solutions. “Using pharmacy point-of-sale technologies allows for these counseling sessions to be recorded for future reference and ensures the patient is getting all their available prescriptions within the same visit.”