The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken action against more than 1,050 websites selling medicines illegally, the agency said on Thursday. According to an FDA statement, these sites sold medicines that were dangerous and unapproved. The agency sent warning letters and seized illegal drugs and medical devices received through international mail facilities in Chicago, Miami and New York.
The regulatory action was conducted as part of the Eight Annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA) to counteract online distributors who sell counterfeit medical products. This year’s effort, Operation Pangea VIII, resulted in FDA warning letters being send to operators of nearly 400 websites who sold misbranded or unapproved drugs. Letters were also sent to nine firms selling unapproved medical devices online.
“Our efforts to protect the health of American patients by preventing the online sale of potentially dangerous illegal medical products will not cease,” George Karavetsos, director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, said in the statement. “Operation Pangea VIII provides yet another avenue for the FDA to engage with our international law enforcement partners on these critical issues. We are not only pleased to be a part of this strong international enforcement effort, but resolved to do everything we can to ensure that the global problem of illegal Internet drug and device sales is deterred as a result.”
The FDA targeted certain prescription drugs claiming to be generic versions of FDA-approved brand name medicines, including Nolvadex, Meridia, Valium, Truvada and Advair Diskus. Some devices targeted by the operation include “The Ondamed System” and “Colon Care Products of PA Open System Colon Hydrotherapy Device (Grace)” as well as illegal dermal fillers such as “Interfall Hydrogel polyacrylamide dermal filler,” “Dermafil hyaluronic acid dermal filler” and “Teosyal hyaluronic acid dermal filler.”