Prescription Drugs Ordered From Canadian Web Sites Often Come From Outside Canada, FDA Says
Many prescription drugs ordered from Web sites believed to be operated by Canadian pharmacies come from outside of Canada, according to an FDA investigation, Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal reports.
The agency for a few days in August performed an inspection of about 4,000 packages arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Los Angeles International Airport and Miami International Airport ordered by U.S. consumers. FDA examined packages thought to contain pharmaceuticals sent from India, Israel, Costa Rica and Vanuatu -- four countries FDA said seemed to be sources of drugs that were ordered from pharmacies alleged to be of Canadian origin.
Inspectors found about 1,700, or 43%, of the packages examined had been ordered from "Canadian" Internet pharmacies and were presented as being Canadian in origin. The agency found that in those 1,700 packages, 85% of the drugs were not manufactured in Canada and came from 27 different countries.
FDA said many of the drugs were not properly labeled in English to help ensure safe and effective use. In addition, after some of the drugs were tested, 32 were found to be counterfeit.
Acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach said, "This operation suggests that drugs ordered from so-called Canadian Internet sites are not drugs of known safety and efficacy. These results make clear there are Internet sites that claim to be Canadian that, in fact, are peddling drugs of dubious origin, safety and efficacy."
FDA has warned U.S. residents not to order drugs over the Internet from Canada or other foreign countries, but many consumers do so because they usually are less expensive than in the U.S. FDA said it is working with Canadian drug regulators and law enforcement authorities to find ways to pursue actions against those selling the mislabeled and counterfeit drugs (Corbett Dooren, Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal, 12/20).