ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has expressed support for the Food and Drug Administration’s recent initiatives to crack down on "rogue" pharmacy web sites.
In a letter sent Tuesday to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, NACDS voiced its concern about domestic and foreign web sites that appear to be selling unapproved or misbranded drugs to U.S. consumers.
The FDA’s enforcement actions against such sites came as part of the International Internet Week of Action (IIWA), a weeklong global effort begun earlier this month to curb illegal activity involving medical products.
Under the initiative, the FDA targeted 136 web sites suspected of illegally selling unapproved or misbranded drugs to U.S. consumers. The agency also issued 22 warning letters to the operators of those sites and notified Internet service providers and domain name registrars that the sites were violating U.S. law.
"We are deeply concerned about rogue Internet sites, both domestic and foreign, that are engaged in a pattern of illegal activity regarding the prescribing and dispensing of prescription medications," NACDS said in its letter to the FDA.
"They are shipping unapproved, counterfeit, mislabeled or adulterated products within or into the United States. These illegal Internet sites take advantage of consumers by luring them into illegal schemes to obtain prescription drugs, often controlled substances, without a
prescription or valid patient-prescriber relationship. These Internet sites are not pharmacies," the association stated.
NACDS also noted in the letter that it has worked with Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) and Reps. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) and Lamar Smith (R., Texas) to help pass the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act. The legislation aims to stop rogue web sites from illegally selling controlled substances while protecting consumer access to sites operated by legitimate state-licensed pharmacies.