An investigation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found a significant percentage of drugs touted as Canadian and shipped from Internet pharmacy websites claiming to be Canadian were not actually from Canada, the agency announced Friday.
The FDA said nearly one-half of the imported drugs intercepted from four selected countries were shipped to fill orders consumers believed had been placed with Canadian pharmacies. Of the drugs that were promoted as Canadian, 85 per cent actually came from 27 countries around the globe and a number were counterfeit, the agency said.
“These results make clear there are Internet sites that claim to be Canadian that, in fact, are peddling drugs of dubious origin, safety and efficacy,” FDA acting commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, said in a statement.
“We believe that these bait and switch tactics — offering patients one thing and then giving them something else — are misleading to patients and potentially harmful to the public health.”
The FDA conducted its operation in August 2005 at JFK Airport in New York City, Miami International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport. Agency officials examined all mail parcels suspected of containing pharmaceuticals sent from four countries — India, Israel, Costa Rica, and Vanuatu — that the FDA had previously noticed were sources of drugs apparently ordered from pharmacies alleged to be Canadian in origin. Out of nearly 4,000 parcels examined, about 43 per cent had been ordered from purportedly Canadian Internet pharmacies and the drugs were represented as being of Canadian origin. But only 15 per cent of those examined actually originated in Canada. And 32 of the medications were determined to be counterfeit.