New report details scope of counterfeit drugs worldwide

Nearly one-quarter of online sellers under investigation somehow tied to Canada

NEW YORK — A coalition of organizations that includes major retail pharmacy and drug manufacturing groups is warning consumers against purchasing drugs from foreign, online outlets.

The Partnership for Safe Medicines analyzed a report from the Group of 8 about rogue online drug outlets that shows 4,000 of the 18,000 outlets under investigation were tied in some way to Canada; 70,000 fake prescription drugs were discovered in the secure supply chain in the United Kingdom, and 30,000 doses remain unaccounted for; France confiscated 1.2 million doses of fake aspirin hidden in tea last year; Germany found more than 100 outlets offering illegally imported counterfeit cancer drugs in 2010; a Russian network called Glavmed is known for posing as Canadian drug stores and is one of the top-three sources of online antivirus scams.

The PSM includes such organizations as the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the American Pharmacists Association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, among others.

The risk of counterfeit and adulterated drugs finding their way into the supply chain is a major reason why the Food and Drug Administration bans importation of drugs into the United States. Still, a new law in Maine would allow importation of drugs from certain Canadian sellers. The city government of Portland, Maine, has for many years imported drugs from a company called CanaRx.


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