As part of a fraudulent scheme to extort money from consumers, callers have falsely identified themselves as officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Consumers should know that FDA officials never contact consumers by phone to demand money or any other form of payment. "Impersonating an FDA official is a violation of federal law," says Michael Chappell, FDA's acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.
Dianne Murphy, M.D., is director of FDA’s Office of Pediatric Therapeutics. Dr. Murphy graduated from the Medical College of Virginia and completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She has been with FDA since 1998.
Q: How does FDA define “children”?
A: For drugs, a child is defined as a person up to 17 years of age. For devices, 21 years of age is the upper limit.
Q: Are medications that are intended for children clinically tested on children?
Several instances have been reported to FDA of calls enticing consumers to purchase discounted prescription drugs by wiring funds to one of several locations in the Dominican Republic. No medications are ever delivered.
A subsequent call is received from a fraudulent "FDA special agent" informing the consumer that a fine of several thousand dollars is required to be sent to an address in the Dominican Republic to prevent incarceration or other legal action.
Though the fraudulent calls appear to be from telephone numbers located within the United States, they are from either ported voice-over-the-Internet-protocol numbers (calls made directly from a computer and moved or "ported" to other computers to avoid detection) or cellular phones.
This scheme most likely began with the theft of personal information from consumers who previously purchased drugs via the Internet or telephone, or who were victims of credit card fraud. FDA reminds consumers to purchase prescription drugs only from licensed pharmacies located in the United States.
Report complaints or information regarding this scheme to FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations at (800) 521-5783.