The deliberate and fraudulent practice of counterfeiting can apply to both brand name and generic products, where the identity of the source is often mislabeled in a way that suggests it is the authentic approved product. Counterfeit drugs may.
Laboratory analysis showed that the capsules that the consumers received contained the wrong active ingredient, sibutramine.
Be aware that some drugs sold online.
Updated: January 26, 2011 back to top.
". For information on protecting yourself against a whole range of bogus health products that includes counterfeit drugs, see FDA's Consumer Update, " FDA 101: Health Fraud Awareness.
Any time you get a prescription refilled.
But there are also many “rogue websites” that offer to sell potentially dangerous drugs that have not been checked for safety or effectiveness. There are many websites that operate legally and offer convenience, privacy, and safeguards for purchasing medicines. Though a rogue site may look professional and legitimate, it could actually be an illegal operation.
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Buying prescription and over-the-counter drugs on the Internet from a company you don't know means you may not know exactly what you're getting.
Signs of an unsafe website.
Visit the VIPPS website to find legitimate pharmacies that carry the VIPPS seal. This seal means that the Internet pharmacy is safe to use because it has met state licensure requirements, as well as other NABP criteria.
Signs of a trustworthy website.
FDA also became aware of a number of people who placed orders over the Internet for one of the following products:
So how can you protect yourself? FDA says that consumers should know how to recognize a legal Internet pharmacy and how to buy medicines online safely.
Some websites sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs that may not be safe to use and could put people's health at risk. The Food and Drug Administration wants to warn consumers about the possible dangers of buying medicines over the Internet.
Before you get any new medicine for the first time, talk to a health care professional such as your doctor or pharmacist about any special steps you need to take to fill your prescription.
Another way to check on a website is to look for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's (NABP) Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites Seal, also known as the VIPPS Seal.
When analyzed by FDA, the tablets were found to contain talc and acetaminophen, but none of the active ingredient oseltamivir. For example, FDA purchased and analyzed several products that were represented online as Tamiflu (oseltamivir). One of the orders, which arrived in an unmarked envelope with a postmark from India, consisted of unlabeled, white tablets.
Using medicine that contains an active ingredient that wasn't prescribed by your licensed health care provider may be harmful.
FDA also is exploring the use of modern technologies and other measures that will make it more difficult for counterfeit drugs to get mixed up with, or deliberay substituted for, safe and effective medicines. The agency is working with drug manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to identify and prevent counterfeit drugs. FDA continues to proactively protect consumers from counterfeit drugs.
Counterfeit drugs are fake or copycat products that can be difficult to identify.
Other websites sell counterfeit drugs that may look exactly like real FDA-approved medicines, but their quality and safety are unknown.
These rogue sites often sell unapproved drugs, drugs that contain the wrong active ingredient, drugs that may contain too much or too little of the active ingredient, or drugs that contain dangerous ingredients.
For more information on this topic, visit FDA's Web page on Counterfeit Medicine.
For example, counterfeit versions of the FDA-approved weight loss drug Xenical, which contains the active ingredient orlistat, recently were obtained by three consumers from two different websites.
In addition, sibutramine is classified as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration because of its potential for abuse and misuse. Sibutramine is the active ingredient of a different medicine called Meridia, a prescription drug also approved by FDA to help obese people lose weight and maintain weight loss.
As a result, these customers needed emergency medical treatment for symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, muscle spasms, and muscle stiffness—all problems that can occur with haloperidol. Instead of receiving the drug they ordered, several customers received products containing what was identified as foreign versions of Haldol (haloperidol), a powerful anti-psychotic drug.Buying prescription drugs online legal