News | July 01, 2008

Report Shows 96 Percent of Web-Based Pharmacies are Operated Illegally

July 2, 2008 - The European Alliance for Access to Safe Medicines (EAASM) has today unveiled its comprehensive research report, “The Counterfeiting Superhighway,” which reveals that a frightening 62 percent of medicines purchased online are fake or substandard.

These include medicines indicated to treat serious conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, neurological disorders and mental health conditions, the report found.

The rapid growth of illegal online pharmacies means there is a higher risk that fake medicines will reach patients. Untrained, unsuspecting consumers are extremely vulnerable to the potentially lethal outcomes of buying medicines online. “The Counterfeiting Superhighway” report reveals the scope and repercussions of this growing, dangerous practice through extensive research and examination.

Following in-depth analysis of more than 100 online pharmacies, commonly purchased prescription-only medicines were ordered online. All medicines were delivered without requiring a prescription. The report’s authors said this is illegal and presents a serious threat to public health.

Expert visual and chemical analysis of the prescription-only medicines purchased online compounded the desk research findings:
- 95.6 percent of online pharmacies researched are operating illegally.
- 94 percent of Web sites do not have a named, verifiable pharmacist.
- More than 90 percent of Web sites supply prescription-only medicines without a prescription.
- 86 percent of online “pharmacy approval” stamps are fake.

The report demonstrates there is a three in five chance of receiving fake or substandard medicine when you buy online. Only 38 percent of the medicines received were found to be genuine branded medicines, 16 percent of these were illegal non-EU imports (genuine products, imported into the EU illegally from a non-EU country) and 33 percent did not have patient information leaflets, which in itself is also illegal and potentially dangerous to consumers' health, the author’s said.

The report said on a number of occasions, the life-saving cardiovascular medicine Plavix was supplied with free Viagra (or products purporting to be these medicines). The authors said anyone who is taking medicines for a serious heart condition should be under close medical supervision, especially when taking a cocktail of drugs for other conditions, including erectile dysfunction.

“I was alarmed to see that a number of the ‘medicines’ delivered were accompanied by free, unsolicited tablets, provided without any medical assessment,” said Dr. Ian Banks, president, European Men’s Health Forum. “Far from rewarding consumers with ‘bonus pills,’ this practice shows that these unscrupulous, criminal online drug traders appear willing to potentially risk the health and well-being of their customers.”

Other cardiovascular and respiratory drugs or counterfeit drugs purchased online included Lipitor, Seretide, Coversyl, Micardis and Spiriva.

The report offers several recommendations. The report suggests that popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN should remove Web pages from search results, which advertise counterfeit medicines. This tactic has already proved successful in preventing people from accessing child pornography Web sites, so surely similar success can be achieved with combating illegal online pharmacies.

“The report findings are shocking and the story it tells demands action,” Jim Thomson, chair, EAASM. “Consumers are susceptible to fake medicines, which could harm their health, and in extreme cases be deadly. The EAASM calls on all stakeholders including search engines, credit card companies, shipping companies, patient groups and regulators, to take action and halt this dangerous trend.”

EAASM was founded in 2007 and is an independent, cross-sector voice representing European patients’ rights to access safe medicines. The alliance acts to raise awareness of the risks of counterfeit and substandard medicines to patient safety, address the shortcomings of current legislation and enforcement, and campaign for greater protection for European patients.

For more information: www.eaasm.eu

Related Content

Bivalirudin exhibited an improvement in 30-day all-cause mortality when injected post PCI.
News | Antiplatelet and Anticoagulation Therapies| August 16, 2017
August 16, 2017 — A study has examined the efficacies of various post-percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) bivali
ESC 2017 late breaking trial hot line study presentations.
News | Clinical Study| August 16, 2017
Aug. 16, 2017 – The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2017 includes several Hot Line Late-breaking Clinic
News | Drug-Eluting Balloons| August 15, 2017
Surmodics Inc. announced receipt of an investigational device exemption (IDE) from the U.S. Food and Drug...
The Vascular Dynamics MobiusHD device enhances the carotid baroreceptors to reduce resistant hypertension.
News | Hypertension| August 15, 2017
Aug. 15, 2017 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Vascular Dynamics Inc.
Abbott Initiates First Clinical Trial of Clip-Based Tricuspid Repair System
News | Heart Valve Technology| August 09, 2017
Abbott announced that the first patient has been enrolled in a clinical study to evaluate a minimally invasive clip-...
Three New Atrial Fibrillation Studies to Feature HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System
News | Ablation Systems| August 07, 2017
CardioFocus Inc. announced that its HeartLight Endoscopic Ablation System is being featured in three new major clinical...
Registry Identifies Early Onset of Heart Failure and Lack of Defibrillators in Asia
News | Heart Failure| August 03, 2017
August 3, 2017 — The Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology (ASPC) held its first-ever late-breaking...
New Study Focuses on Protein Responsible For Increased Heart Disease Risk
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| August 03, 2017
August 3, 2017 — A study to reduce the strongest inherited...
Overlay Init