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NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration has released a new video that warns consumers against buying drugs from rogue-internet pharmacies, part of the ongoing effort by the agency to keep fake and contaminated drugs out of the U.S. supply chain.
The video, part of the FDA's BeSafeRx awareness program, features Gary Coody, the FDA's health fraud coordinator, highlighting the agency's efforts to combat fraudulent online pharmacies and offering tips for recognizing them. To date, the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations has arrested and convicted more than 400 people involved with rogue pharmacies and collected more than $178 million in restitution for consumers, Coody says in the video.
While periodic crackdowns have shut down thousands of illegal pharmacy websites in the last few years, it remains a growing problem, and Coody said in the video that new sites can be created in a very short period of time. Earlier this year, the FDA participated in Operation Pangea VI, collaborating with regulators, law enforcement and customs agencies in 99 countries take action against more than 9,600 rogue Internet pharmacies and seize $41.1 million in illegal medicines. The FDA itself seized and shut down 1,677 sites. In response, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has developed the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, or VIPPS accreditation program, which includes the VIPPS seal on websites and inclusion of trustworthy sites on the NABP's consumer protection website.
The video is below.