The “Web” of deceit - Counterfeit drugs sold through illegal online websites
Convenient, and potentially deadly
As the internet has become a staple of daily life, consumers are rapidly using this channel to source their pharmaceutical drug requirements. This has led to a spiralling issue of counterfeit drugs that are sold through illegal and misleading websites. Consumers prefer buying online for the convenience and also for the privacy and anonymity, particularly for diseases or illnesses that have a stigma attached to it.
Easy to find, tough to verify
Websites selling counterfeit drugs are easy to find – Studies conducted by The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies concludes that a sampling of online searches for the phrase “buy medicine online” results in links for illegal online pharmacies in 100% of cases.
Growing as fast as the internet
The rapid adoption of the internet for online purchases, has accelerated the counterfeit drug problem. Consider this – Almost one in 4 American customers buy their prescription medications online. And yet, when the FDA did a random sampling of 10,000 (online) pharmacies , they found 97% of these websites to be illegal or not conforming to
Tough to kill, Easy to launch
The illegal online pharmacies popup almost as fast as they can be removed. On top of an estimated 40,000 illegal online pharmacies, 600 new illegal online pharmacies are launched each month, based on studies conducted by industry groups.
The problem is big, and still growing at a fast clip. An anti-counterfeiting operation conducted and led by INTERPOL in conjunction with other authorities, resulted in the removal or shutdown of more than 100,000 web links to websites and internet marketplaces that harboured or peddled counterfeit drugs.
Advertised online to consumers
The counterfeiters don’t not stop at just being present online – they actively advertise to consumers over the internet, to mislead them through unrealistic offers and prices – preying on the consumers who are in a financially, physically or mentally sensitive situation. In a cleanup operation authorities also removed more than 3,100 advertising links for the illegal sale and supply of unlicensed medicines.
Funding organised crime
Illegal online pharmacies are often part of a bigger organised crime initiative, that can have ties to money laundering, financial fraud and cybercrime. When mixed with this deadly cocktail of issues, it becomes a very risky proposition to buy medicines online.
Key indicators of illegality
Consumers are advised to be suspicious of lower priced medication that seems unusual, when buying online. They should not trust online pharmacies that do not need any prescription for drugs.
Checkpoints to verify a legal online pharmacy
It is advised to look for the “.pharmacy” website url. Legitimate websites also typically provide contact and qualification information for a licensed pharmacist attached to the practice. Legal websites provide clear and verifiable contact information for the country from which the consumer originates. For the United States, the FDA also provides a list of approved and verified online pharmacies.
The anti-counterfeit solution by Ennoventure
In addition to measures to identify and takedown illegal online pharmacies peddling counterfeit drugs and medications, the consumer should be empowered to be able to verify any medication that they get their hands on. This can be done by a foolproof brand authentication facility provided by Ennoventure. This method requires no new technology or learning curve for the consumer, and does not involve any new change to the production packaging process for drug companies. And this anti-counterfeit technology solution cannot be faked or replicated by counterfeiters. To know more, visit https:// ennoventure.com/use-case/