Can patients really still be falling for rogue pharmacies? And if so, what should you be doing to prevent drug sales from such sites from putting patients at risk?
FDA today warned consumers about a “generic Tamiflu” sold over the Internet. Not only is there no such FDA-approved generic Tamiflu, but the product doesn’t even contain Tamiflu’s active ingredient, oseltamivir. Instead, it contained cloxacillin, an ingredient in the same class of antibiotics as penicillin, FDA reported on its Web site in a press release. This could be life-threatening to patients who are allergic to or may have experienced adverse reactions to penicillin. (Like my mother and husband!)
To date, the FDA is not aware of any reports of adverse reactions, the agency says in the press release. The agency explained that it bought the fraudulent product without a prescription from a Web site claiming to be an online drugstore. The site is no longer working, but FDA warns that “the fraudulent version is likely to be found for sale on other Web sites, however.” According to the release, “the product arrived in an envelope postmarked from India, containing two foil-backed blister packages each with 15 yellow and tan capsules containing white powder. The foil backing is printed, and labeled in part, “Oseltamivir Phosphate 75mg. Capsules TM-FLU Capsules” and “Manufactured by: TRYDRUGS Pharmaceuticals PVT. LTD.”
For more details from FDA, click here.
Last week the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) saluted Yahoo! for changing its policies for Internet pharmacy advertising, NABP wrote on its Web site. Yahoo! joined Google and Microsoft’s Bing.com in requiring online pharmacy advertisers to be accredited through the VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) program.
“On behalf of the state boards of pharmacy, NABP is pleased to see Yahoo! taking steps to protect the public health against rogue Internet drug outlets,” wrote NABP President William T. Winsley, MS, RPh, on NABP’s Web site. “We congratulate Yahoo! on its conscientious decision to hold pharmacy advertisers accountable to the laws established in the US to protect patient health.”
Will this be enough to fight online drug pirates? Or should you be joining the fight with a few weapons of your own?