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FDA: Fake Drugs on Canadian Web Sites

Preliminary Lab Tests Show Some Sites Are Selling Counterfeit Rx Drugs
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 31, 2006 -- The FDA is warning people not to buy prescription drugs from certain Canadian web sites that have reportedly sold counterfeit prescription drugs to U.S. consumers.

The web sites are those that have orders filled by Mediplan Prescription Plus Pharmacy or Mediplan Global Health in Manitoba, Canada.

According to the FDA, some of the sites operated by Mediplan or that fulfill orders through Mediplan are:

  • www.RxNorth.com
  • www.Canadiandrugstore.com
  • www.Rxbyfax.com
  • www.Northcountryrx.com
  • www.Canada-pharmacy.com
  • www.My-canada-pharmacy.com
  • www.NLRX.com
  • www.Canampharmacy.com
  • www.Canada-Meds-For-Less.net
  • www.Canadian-safe.com

The FDA recommends that people who have bought drugs from these web sites not use them because they may be unsafe.

Fake Drugs

The FDA is investigating drugs that were being shipped from those web sites to the U.S.

It says preliminary lab tests have found counterfeits of the following prescription drugs:

  • Lipitor -- for cholesterol disorders
  • Crestor -- cholesterol disorders
  • Zetia (U.S. name) / Ezetrol (Canadian name) -- cholesterol disorders
  • Diovan -- high blood pressurehigh blood pressure
  • Hyzaar -- high blood pressure
  • Actonel -- osteoporosisosteoporosis in postmenopausal women
  • Nexium -- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERDGERD)
  • Celebrex -- arthritisarthritis-related pain
  • Arimidex -- breast cancerbreast cancer
  • Propecia -- male-pattern baldness

In general, the FDA advises consumers to use caution when buying medical products online.

"Although a web site may appear reputable and similar to legitimate retail pharmacy web sites, many actually operate from outside the U.S. and provide unapproved drugs from unreliable sources," says the FDA in a news release.

For example, in August 2005, the FDA intercepted imported drugs at New York, Miami, and Los Angeles airports. Of the intercepted drugs promoted as "Canadian," 85% actually came from 27 other countries, and some were counterfeits.

Some Internet sites that claimed to be "Canadian" were, in fact, selling drugs of dubious origin, safety, and efficacy, says the FDA.

The FDA says it aggressively investigates drug counterfeiting.

"Drug counterfeiting defrauds consumers and can expose them to products containing unknown, ineffective, or harmful ingredients," says the FDA. "Counterfeit drugs may be toxic or contain doses that are too small to treat a medical condition, or so large that they could endanger the health of the user."

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