FDA Warns Foreign Online Rx Companies Against U.S. Cipro Sales
The FDA has sent letters to 16 foreign online pharmacies warning them not to sell Cipro in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports (Carroll, Wall Street Journal, 11/2). Sale of the antibiotic in the United States may be illegal because the FDA is "unable to determine" if it was "made in accordance with United States specifications" (AP/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/2). The agency cautioned the businesses that they may not ship Cipro to the United States without its first being inspected by the FDA. The letters also say that any company other than Bayer AG that sells Cipro in the U.S. would violate Bayer's U.S. patent on the drug. The FDA said it would alert the governments of the countries where the online pharmacies are based that the companies "may be involved in illegal Cipro sales" (Wall Street Journal, 11/2). The agency said it will advise the U.S. Customs Service that it may stop and detain shipments of the drug into the country (AP/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/2). The warnings may be more successful as a "public information tool" than as an "enforcement tool," the Wall Street Journal reports (Wall Street Journal, 11/2).
The Federal Trade Commission has begun "special monitoring" of the Internet, searching for companies making "misrepresentations" about products that claim to sell anthrax-protection products or cures for the disease, USA Today reports. Among the companies offering new anthrax products:
Vital Living Products has adapted its existing water bacteria test into a kit designed to "detect anthrax in the air, water or on household surfaces."
TRSG is offering a "flashlight-style device" that company officials claim will detect anthrax. TSRG executive Flo Turnes acknowledged that the $50 device "has not been tested and approved by any laboratories."
N-B-C-Warfare.com is offering a "mailroom protection package" for $512. The package comes with a safety suit, gas mask, gloves and a container to hold "suspicious letters or packages." But company spokesperson Edward Carson said, "[I]f the terrorists have mailed you a (contaminated) letter directly, this [product] isn't going to solve your problem."
USA Today reports that despite a "rising chorus of buyer-beware warnings," including one from the Council of Better Business Bureaus, there is "scant promise" that the market for anti-anthrax products and services will "slow down" (McCoy/Iwata, USA Today, 11/2).
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