The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to doctors that the growing number of “rogue” wholesale distributors selling fake or unapproved prescription drugs and urging doctors to be vigilant when purchasing medicines.
The FDA said the problem is so widespread that it has launched a program to educate doctors and other health care providers and administrators about proper drug purchasing procedures, HealthDay News reports.
The Know Your Source program aims to protect patients from taking ineffective or potentially harmful counterfeit drugs.
The FDA describes the country’s pharmaceutical supply chain as “one of the most secure and sophisticated in the world,” but nonetheless, the agency says, health care professionals should be careful to buy prescriptions drugs only from wholesale distributors licensed in their states.
Risk of giving unsafe or ineffective drugs to patients
Doing this reduces the risk of giving unsafe or ineffective drugs to patients. An interactive map on the FDA web site connects purchasers to the licensing agency in each state.
The FDA cautioned physicians to avoid offers that sound too good to be true, and to question a supplier’s aggressive marketing tactics or major discounts on prescription drugs, which suggests that the medicines may be stolen, fake, substandard or unapproved.
The agency urged doctors to verify that they are receiving only FDA-approved products. Unapproved drugs may contain unknown or harmful ingredients.
Fake drugs may not contain the listed active ingredient or that ingredient may not be present in the strength listed on the label. The drugs may not have been made, transported or stored under proper conditions, the agency said.