Many people are finding that it is more convenient and less costly to obtain and purchase their prescription and nonprescription medicines and drugs on the internet rather than at their local pharmacy or drug store. Purchases over the internet may take a day or two (or longer) to reach customers, but they are often less expensive and more convenient to receive them by mail or delivered to the doorstep than to wait in line at the local pharmacy. What’s often missing is the face-to-face interaction with the pharmacy staff who may be able to better explain the medications and answer any questions in person and to flag any issues or concerns involving other medications and substances being used by the customer. When you purchase your medications in person at the pharmacy, you may pretty much rest assured that the drugs you receive are not counterfeit or expired. When you purchase medications over the internet, especially from unknown or foreign sources, you may have much less confidence in the medicines you receive.
The FDA and other national and international partners recently completed a week-long effort (September 20 to September 27, 2011) called the International Internet Week Of Action to curb sales and distribution of counterfeit and illegal medical products. The announced goal is “to protect the public health by increasing the public’s awareness about the dangers and risks associated with purchasing medicines and medical devices from websites, to identify the producers and distributors of counterfeit or otherwise illegal pharmaceutical products or medical devices, to target these individuals or businesses with civil or criminal action, and to seize counterfeit and illegal products and remove them from the supply chain.”
This year’s “Week Of Action” focused on websites selling unapproved drugs containing human growth hormone (HGH), sildnafil citrate, and isotretinoin (the FDA has approved certain drugs containing these ingredients for use in certain patients under the supervision of licensed medical providers). These particular substances were the focus this year because they were commonly available on the internet without proper medical prescription or medical supervision: the improper use of HGH may have side effects such as increased risk of cancer, nerve pain, and elevation of cholesterol or glucose levels; sildenafil citrate tablets, which is used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, should not be used in patients with certain heart conditions; and, isotretinoin capsules, which was once marketed as Accutane in the United States to treat severe nodular acne, has potential significant risks of severe birth defects if used during pregnancy.
The FDA sent warning letters to the operators/owners of 717 websites offering illegal drugs, resulting in 578 of the websites to be suspended or withdrawing pharmaceuticals for sale.
If you suffered injuries from counterfeit medications or bad drugs, you may have a claim for compensation for your injuries and damages. Visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your area who may be able to help you with your claim or call us toll free at 800-295-3959.
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