The FDA issued a warning about counterfeit Cialis, an erectile dysfunction (ED) medication, being sold through the mail, which probably means it was purchased from a rogue online pharmacy. The fake Cialis is some whacky combination of Cialis’s active ingredient, tadalafil, and the active ingredient in Pfizer’s Viagra, called sildenafil. Apparently, the FDA seized the counterfeit product before it reached a consumer in the U.S. by mail.
Fortunately, over 99% of safe, personally imported prescription drugs are not seized at international mail facilities. Still, I’ve given the FDA considerable grief about seizing safe medications, which they usually deem “misbranded” or “unapproved” for intellectual property or labeling reasons – but in this case FDA protected someone from a bad drug and that’s cool.
According to Reuters, FDA “cautioned against purchasing prescription medicines online, noting that some websites may be selling unsafe products.” The FDA also said that there is no indication that the “legitimate supply chain” – meaning the U.S. domestic supply chain – is at risk and that licensed U.S. pharmacies are safe. That’s probably true but there’s no reason to believe that the legitimate supply chains in other countries aren’t safe either. In other words, foreign online pharmacies verified by PharmacyChecker.com continue to sell real Cialis, the one marketed by Eli Lilly, for a lot less than they do here. The lowest cost Cialis (10mg) is $14.25 at a PharmacyChecker.com-approved international online pharmacy. That compares with a whopping $44.92 per pill at a one of the lower cost VIPPS-approved online pharmacies (VIPPS is the online pharmacy verification program of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy).
The FDA recommends that consumers do not take Cialis supplied in bottles matching one or more of the following descriptions:
- lists “AUSTR81137” on the front of the bottle;
- does not include an NDC number on the front of the bottle, such as “NDC 0002-4462-30” for the 20 mg tablets;
- does not include the tablet strength in a colored box;
- has different patterns and colors; it has yellow and darker green designs on the front label;
- has misspellings; it lists, “CLALIS is a product of: Eli lilly Australia PTY Limited” on the side of the bottle;
- lists the manufacturer location as “112 Wharf Road, WEST RYDE, NSW 2114” on the side of the bottle; and
- lists “Lot: AC 066018, Exp: 01SEP17” on the side of the bottle.
I don’t agree with one of these – the bolded one – and here’s why: safe and real Cialis, or other genuine medications, ordered from online pharmacies won’t necessarily have an NDC number on it. In fact, if you were to travel to another country and purchase meds, real prescription drugs, in a brick-and-mortar pharmacy, they would not have an NDC number. That’s because NDC is unique to drugs packaged for sale in American pharmacies. Other countries use different labeling systems; for example, Canada’s version of NDC is called DIN (drug identification number).
One last important note: the truth is that many people want to get ED meds online, whether it’s Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra, without a prescription. PharmacyChecker.com strongly recommends that you don’t do that. The studies show that online pharmacies that don’t require a valid prescription are more likely to sell fake or otherwise bad medication, especially bogus ED meds!