Illegal online pharmacies that sell unapproved and potentially dangerous prescription drugs to Americans were targeted this week in a worldwide operation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday.
More than 19,600 packages containing medicines supposedly from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Great Britain were seized in the action, which involved authorities from 111 countries, the FDA said in a news release.
The packages actually contained unapproved or suspected fake drugs from countries such as China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and Taiwan, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain, the agency reported.
In the United States, officials inspected shipments at international mail facilities in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City and seized or detained 583 packages. Many of the packages contained illegal prescription medicines that had been ordered online.
These drugs ordered by U.S. consumers included drugs such as insulin, glaucoma eye drops (bimatoprost), the pain reliever tramadol and medications for erectile dysfunction — tadalafil and sildenafil citrate. Hormone medications including estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin were also seized.