Illegal Online Sales of Prescription Drugs Pose Challenge in the United Kingdom, The Guardian Reports

January 7, 2015

In 2014, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom seized at least 1.2 million doses of illegally supplied erectile dysfunction drugs, 383,000 slimming products, and 331,000 doses of sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and antidepressants " mostly originating from China and India.

In 2014, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the United Kingdom seized at least 1.2 million doses of illegally supplied erectile dysfunction drugs, 383,000 slimming products, and 331,000 doses of sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and antidepressants — mostly originating from China and India, indicates a new report in The Guardian. According to the report, these statistics represent a rise in the number of online Internet sales targeting consumers in the UK, and many of these illegal drug sellers are tied to criminal gangs in places such as the former Soviet Union. These criminal organizations have often moved into selling prescription drugs because of a high profit potential and low risk of being caught.

NABP has reviewed more than 10,800 websites selling prescription drugs to patients in the US and found that 96% are operating out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards established to protect the public health. To help consumers in the US find the safest sources for purchasing medications online, NABP developed the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites® (VIPPS®) program. NABP encourages consumers to look for the VIPPS Seal and to check NABP’s list of accredited sites on the AWARXE® Prescription Drug Safety Program website. In addition, consumers can watch for pharmacy sites using the newly launched .pharmacy Top-Level Domain; sites in the domain (with a website address ending in .pharmacy) have been reviewed by NABP and are found to be legitimate online pharmacies and resources adhering to applicable pharmacy laws and best practices.