While I post over and over writing about why you should be wary about buying any prescription medication online, there is another reason. Only about 3% of online prescription stores or pharmacies are real and accredited. The others are selling counterfeit pills that do not work.
Last year, INTERPOL removed 11,000 illegal online pharmacies and seized 9.4 million in doses.
The increase in sales of online stores is because of the high cost of medication. A low income person will have trouble paying for prescription drugs since they are so expensive.
Three percent. If you’re ordering prescription medicines online, those are the chances that you are buying from a legitimate, accredited internet pharmacy. With odds that slim, is it really worth it to risk your safety for savings that are nearly always too good to be true?
Unfortunately, the answer for many American patients is still yes. Drug counterfeiting, aided by the explosion of Internet pharmacies and the ease of online purchasing, is a multibillion dollar industry. And although our government has taken steps to make patients aware of the risks of purchasing medicines from illegal online pharmacies, it’s clear that we still have a long way to go in our education efforts.
The magnitude of the problem that we can actually quantify is staggering. Earlier this year, the United States was one of 111 countries participating in INTERPOL’s Pangea sting operation, which led to nearly 11,000 illegal online pharmacies being shut down, the removal 19,000 ads for fake drugs on social media sites, the seizure of 9.4 million doses of phony medicines. And last month, Google agreed to spend $50 million annually over the next five years to crack down on advertising for illegal online pharmacies. The sheer size of these numbers means that although incremental progress is certainly being made to protect patients, much more work remains before we can eradicate the threat of counterfeits.
It is nice of Google to fight this. I mean it is not like they are the ones who display the ads. (Sarcasm)
If you don’t remember last year there was major news about how the cancer drug Avastin was counterfeited and ended up in many doctors offices. It entered the supply chain from a internet store:
The appearance of fake Avastin was widely publicized after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned in February that the counterfeits may have entered the U.S. supply chain. But the central role played by Mr. Thorkelson’s Canada Drugs hasn’t previously been reported. The company is best known for its website, CanadaDrugs.com, which sells medicine to U.S. consumers. In recent years, parts of the company began selling to doctors.
This site is of course a real legal internet drug store. This is how it entered the supply chain.
When Canada Drugs was founded in 2001, it sold medicines exclusively from Canadian suppliers, say former employees of the company, which is based in a low-rise office park on Winnipeg’s industrial eastern edge. These drugs were less expensive than U.S. versions because of Canadian price controls, a big lure for cash-strapped Americans. “All of us felt we were on the side of the angels,” said Dave MacKay, who worked in Canada Drugs’ marketing department until late 2003.
By 2003, big drug makers seeking to protect their U.S. sales shut online pharmacies out of the Canadian supply chain, forcing them to seek supplies elsewhere. Company records show that Canada Drugs began buying pharmaceuticals in far-flung countries that drug safety experts say have lax regulation and problems with counterfeiting. Mr. Thorkelson took steps to avoid fakes. He and his lieutenants pressed caution on their suppliers, spot-checked shipments and built a web of foreign subsidiaries to gain more control over the supply chain, according to former employees and business associates.
Those efforts failed to tame the shadowy, international gray market for medicine.
This is really dangerous as someone who has cancer cannot take fake pills. Everyday is a battle against the tumors and if you were to take counterfeit medication, it can really set back or reverse recover and the fight against cancer cells.