<p>For the seventh straight year, the Food and Drug Administration, in partnership with other federal and international agencies, took action last week against websites that sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs to U.S. consumers. During the collaborative effort, known as Operation Pangea, law enforcement, customs and regulatory authorities from 111 countries collaborated to identify the makers and distributors of illegal drug products and medical devices that used the Internet to sell their products and remove these products from the supply chain.&nbsp;</p>
<p>The effort took place in support of the 7th annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA) &mdash; May 13 to May 20, 2014 &mdash; sponsored by Interpol.</p>
<p>The officials&nbsp;detained or seized&nbsp;19,618 packages containing medicines purportedly from Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada. These packages actually contained unapproved or suspected counterfeit drugs from other countries, such as India, China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Mexico, Laos, Malaysia, as well as Australia, New Zealand and the UK.</p>
<p>The FDA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspected packages at the mail facilities in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and detained or seized 583 packages. Preliminary findings show that certain drug products from abroad, such as insulin, estrogen, bimatoprost, human chorionic gonadotropin, tramadol, tadalafil and sildenafil citrate were on their way to U.S. consumers. The FDA also notified Internet service providers, domain name registrars and related organizations that 1,975 websites were selling products in violation of U.S. law.</p>
<p>According to the FDA, investigations and operations such as Operation Pangea VII have revealed that many American consumers order medicines from online sources believing they will receive the same medicine as the U.S. approved version. These medicines, however, are often unapproved or counterfeit and from countries with less stringent manufacturing standards or regulatory controls. Many illegal online pharmacies purport to sell drugs identical to the U.S. approved versions to attract consumers but then send them unapproved, counterfeit or substandard versions.</p>
<p>The FDA provides consumers with information on how to identify an illegal pharmacy website and advice on how to find a safe online pharmacy through <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/BuyingMedicinesOvertheInternet/BeSafeRxKnowYourOnlinePharmacy/default.htm">BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy</a>.</p>
<p>NACDS, as a founding and leading member of the <a href="http://safeonlinerx.com/">Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies</a>,&nbsp;is actively involved in advocacy efforts to combat illegal online drug sellers.</p>