Beware Of Fake Drugs Online, FDA Warns

Thinking of buying your prescription drugs online to save time and money? Think again, warns The Early Show's Dr. Emily Senay. The FDA reports that some online pharmacy sites are selling unsuspecting consumers pills that are counterfeit.

According to the FDA, they discovered that two Web sites were selling fake capsules of Xenical 120 mg, a drug manufactured by Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Xenical is an FDA-approved diet drug.)

The FDA report says: "None of the capsules ordered off the Web sites contained orlistat, the active ingredient in authentic Xenical. In fact, laboratory analysis conducted by Roche and submitted to the FDA confirmed that one capsule contained sibutramine, which is the active ingredient in Meridia, an FDA-approved prescription drug manufactured by Abbott Laboratories."

The FDA discovered that other Xenical samples from the bogus sites were composed of only talc and starch.

Roche says that the two Web sites that sold the fake Xenical were and

"Further investigation by FDA disclosed that these Web sites are two of 24 Web sites that appear on the home page under the 'Our Websites' heading," the FDA reports. "Four of these Web sites previously have been identified by FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations as being associated with the distribution of counterfeit Tamiflu and counterfeit Cialis."

Here are some Web sites you will want to visit — they offer guidelines and tips for buying drugs online:

  • To find out about the 24 online pharmacies that the FDA found were selling counterfeit drugs, click here.
  • The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy(NABP) offers a list of Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS). According the NABP Web site, the group was established in 1904 to assist state licensing boards in developing, implementing, and enforcing uniform standards to protect the Public Health. "Pharmacy boards from 50 United States, the District of Columbia, three US territories, eight Canadian provinces, two Australian states, and South Africa make up the Association membership," the site says.
  • This government site, "Buying Prescription Medicine Online: A Consumer Safety Guide," offers some basic guidelines and tips to purchasing your prescription drugs over the Internet. There is also an FAQ page.