Saturday, November 21, 2009

FDA Issues 22 Warning Letters (Operation Pangea II)

Have you heard of the International Internet Week of Action (IIWA)? The other day, the FDA completed a coordinated international effort called the International Internet Week of Action (IIWA). The code name for this operation was Operation Pangea II and it was intended to curb illegal actions involving medical products. According to the FDA:
The IIWA provided an opportunity to enhance cooperation among international and domestic regulatory and law enforcement partners to effectively act against those involved in the manufacture and distribution of illegal medications.
As a result, the FDA issued 22 warning letters to web sites that appeared to be engaged in the illegal sale of unapproved or misbranded drugs to U.S. consumers. None of the Web sites are for pharmacies in the United States or Canada.

We see ads for online drugs all the time, don't we? Do we know what we're getting? Recently, I've started wondering more about the quality associated with generic drugs. Whether I get my drugs from Walmart, CVS, or some mail order company, do I really know what I'm getting?

Many patients purchase drugs on the Internet from illegal pharmacies. According to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., "these drugs are often counterfeit, contaminated, or unapproved products, or contain an inconsistent amount of the active ingredient." So how do we educate and inform consumers? Let's hope that through the use of social media such as blogs and Twitter, we may help consumers become more aware of these types of issues.

To learn more about the recent FDA actions related to the International Internet Week of Action, click here.

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