There has been an international crackdown upon illegal online pharmacies websites. This has become necessary as an online pharmacy website may be located in one jurisdiction and it may be controlled from another. Thus, law enforcement agencies around the world have been collaborating and coordinating their actions in this regard.
Many online pharmacies websites of India are already on hit list of U.S. and technology companies and search engines like Google, Yahoo, etc. U.S. has already undertaken the detention without physical examination of drugs from firms which have not met drug GMPs as per the import alert 66-40 of US FDA. These include Indian companies as well that were prohibited form selling their medicines in U.S.
However, we cannot blame U.S. for taking legal and retaliatory actions against Indian online pharmacies as almost all of them are operating in an illegal and unregulated manner. Recently, U.S. shut down 1677 illegal online pharmacies websites but Indian government is still indifferent towards taking legal actions against illegal online pharmacies of India. Many online pharmacies websites in India are controlled by underworld and organised criminal networks and Indian government is sleeping over the matter.
On the other hand, Irish regulatory authorities have taken a stand that was need of the hour. Two people have been arrested and more than 100,000 tablets seized in the Irish end of a week-long international crackdown on the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines. Four Irish-controlled websites were investigated and closed down during the operation, according to the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) and the Customs Service of the Revenue Commissioners. The two agencies worked with 200 enforcement agencies across 110 countries to target criminal networks behind the sale of illegal medicines as part of Operation Pangea VII. Coordinated by Interpol, the initiative resulted in 239 arrests worldwide and the closure of 10,600 websites. The main countries of origin are China, Pakistan and India.
Ten search warrants were executed, leading to the two arrests. “Our goal is to stem the flow of medicines from illegal pharmacy websites which present themselves to the general public as perfectly legitimate, but, in reality are not, and many have been shown to be controlled by criminal networks,” said John Lynch, director of compliance with the IMB.
“In attempting to buy prescription medicines from such websites, not only are the public divulging their personal and financial details, they are also placing their health in very real danger. Some of these medicines have been shown to contain too little or too much of the active ingredient, while others contain the wrong active ingredient altogether,” he concluded.
Under Irish law, the sale of prescription-only medicines by mail order is prohibited. This includes internet supplies. The Irish Patients Association commended the authority on their work but pointed out that operation lasted just one week. “The reality is that it is like drawing a leaking bucket of water from a fast moving dangerous river,” chief executive Stephen McMahon said. “A lot more needs to be done to stop these dangers”.