The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, said that it took action last week against 4,402 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs to U.S. consumers.
This effort was part of Operation Pangea IX, the Ninth Annual International Internet Week of Action, a global cooperative effort, led by INTERPOL, to combat the sale of illegal and potentially counterfeit medical products on the internet.
According to George Karavetsos, director of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, the enforcement action ran from May 31 to June 7.
The FDA said it conducted inspections at international mail facilities in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and sent formal complaints to domain registrars requesting the suspension of the 4,402 websites. Included are 110 websites that sell the chemical 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) as a weight-loss product. DNP is most often used as a dye, wood preserver, and herbicide and has never been approved by the FDA for use as a drug.
The FDA said that, in addition to requesting the suspension of 4,402 websites, it issued warnings to the operators of 53 websites illegally offering unapproved and misbranded prescription drug products for sale to U.S. consumers. Inspectors seized illegal drug products in San Francisco, Chicago and New York, which resulted in the detention of 797 parcels which, if found in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, will be refused entry into the country and destroyed.
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