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Internet Pharmacies: Most Rogue Sites Operate from Abroad, and Many Sell Counterfeit Drugs

NCJ Number
Marcia Crosse
Date Published
February 2014
17 pages
This testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives outlines the danger posed by rogue Internet pharmacies.
This report identifies how rogue sites violate Federal and State laws, challenges Federal agencies face in investigating and prosecuting operators, efforts to combat rogue Internet pharmacies, and efforts to educate consumers about the risks of purchasing prescription drugs online. Although the exact number of rogue Internet pharmacies is unknown, one estimate suggests that there were over 36,000 in operation as of February 2014, and these rogue sites violate a variety of Federal laws. Most operate from abroad, and many illegally ship prescription drugs into the United States that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including drugs that are counterfeit or are otherwise substandard. Many also illegally sell prescription drugs without a prescription that meets Federal and State requirements. Foreign rogue Internet pharmacies use sophisticated methods to evade scrutiny by customs officials and smuggle drugs into the country. Their operators also often violate other laws, including those related to fraud and money laundering. 2 figures