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Target donates $250K to Hurricane Irene relief efforts

BY Allison Cerra

MINNEAPOLIS — Target announced its commitment to assist with Hurricane Irene relief efforts through a donation totaling $250,000 in cash and products.

The retailer said that the donations will be distributed among such relief agencies as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. What’s more, Target also is giving gift cards and 10,000 relief kits — which include bottled water, soap, deodorant, toothpaste and nonperishable food items — to several local, regional and national nonprofits.

Target closed 117 stores ahead of the storm, which hit the East Coast last week.

“Target is proud to be a resource for our communities, and we’re committed to aiding those affected by Hurricane Irene in this time of need,” Target chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said. “Our team supports local recovery responses by volunteering and donating product and funds, in addition to making sure our stores closest to the disaster area are able to offer needed supplies.”

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Crime doesn’t pay; but advertising crime does

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The U.S. Department of Justice may have once and for all exposed the man behind the curtain, revealing many online Canadian pharmacies for what they really are: drug pushers taking advantage of Americans in search of cheaper health care. And in doing so, the Justice Department may be uncovering a bigger issue: the creeping 15% of counterfeits worldwide that gradually are cracking the U.S. drug distribution system.

(THE NEWS: Report: Google co-founder knew about illegal pharmacy ads. For the full story, click here)

Not only did Google know full well that those illegal pharmacy ads promoting generic blue pills sans prescription likely were for counterfeit drugs, the company provided customer support to some of these Canadian online pharmacy advertisers to assist them in placing and optimizing their AdWords advertisements, and in improving the effectiveness of their websites from 2003 straight through to 2009, according to a Justice Department press release.

And it appeared they followed the same line of thinking that many Americans did who were in search of a less expensive way to pay for their medicines —  if it’s coming out of Canada, it’s gotta be safe, ay? "Although Google took steps to block pharmacies in countries other than Canada from advertising in the U.S. through AdWords, they continued to allow Canadian pharmacy advertisers to target consumers in the United States," the Justice Department stated. "Google was aware that U.S. consumers were making online purchases of prescription drugs from these Canadian online pharmacies, and that many of the pharmacies distributed prescription drugs, including controlled prescription drugs, based on an online consultation rather than a valid prescription from a treating medical practitioner."

According to the cover story in the Aug. 29 issue of Drug Store News, global drug counterfeiting is growing at 12% to 16% a year, and in 2010 generated as much as $75 billion in worldwide revenues.

The Food and Drug Administration has estimated the number of drug products made outside the United States but consumed domestically doubled from 2001 to 2008. And that may be a conservative estimate. Judging from the record half-billion forfeiture Google made to settle this issue, crime might not pay but advertising for those criminals certainly does. Because a good portion of the $500 million Google paid represented proceeds from those illegal Canadian pharmacy ads.

In a recent analysis of 8,000 rogue websites, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy concluded that 96% of them were out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws, and 85% didn’t require a valid prescription.


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Drug Store News is closed on Labor Day

BY DSN STAFF

The offices of Drug Store News will be closed Monday, Sept. 3, in observance of Labor Day, and the Monday edition of DSN A.M. will not be published. We wish you a happy and safe holiday weekend!

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