FDA And International Enforcement Superfriends Take Down Online Peddlers Of Unapproved Drugs

Image courtesy of Joel Zimmer

Hundreds of millions of years ago, the seven continents that we know today were one big land glob called Pangaea. When choosing a name for an international operation to nab sellers of unapproved drugs, regulators and law enforcement agencies took this idea of one united world and called their project “Pangea,” or the International Internet Week of Action. Led by Interpol, agencies took action to look for unapproved drugs passing in the mail.

The week of intense inspections at international post office sites ran from May 31 to June 7, and what inspectors found resulted in the shutdown of thousands of sites selling unapproved drugs and sending them through the mail. The government worked with domain name registrars to wipe out the Internet addresses for these sites, at least on the public World Wide Web.

110 of the sites taken down were dedicated to the sale of 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), a substance with some industrial uses that was sold as a diet aid in the 1930s, but hasn’t been sold here legally since. It remains a dangerous and illegal weight loss drug.

Inspectors also retailed 797 more packages that are subject to more testing: they’ll be destroyed and even more websites taken down if they’re shown to be illegal in this country or dispensed illicityly.

The FDA didn’t name other drugs captured in the mail raid, but said that they included treatments for depression, narcolepsy, high cholesterol, glaucoma, and asthma.

FDA targets unlawful internet sales of illegal prescription medicines during International Operation Pangea IX [FDA]
BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy [FDA]