Mr. Horton’s recent blog post discussed charges against Titilayo Akintomide Akinyoyenu, a pharmacist in Washington D.C. From 2005 to 2010, Mr. Akinyoyenu is alleged to have filled orders from his pharmacy for controlled medications pursuant to prescriptions written by a licensed doctor that were invalid because they were based on online questionnaires rather than a face-to-face examination. His pharmacy was licensed in the District of Columbia and is registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency to sell controlled medicines. He operated an online pharmacy, apexonlinepharmacy.com,which was associated with his licensed pharmacy. PharmacyChecker.com verified the licenses and DEA registration of Mr. Akinyoyenu’s pharmacy, and checked that the online pharmacy required a valid prescription and met other good online pharmacy practice standards, permitting his online pharmacy to be approved in the PharmacyChecker.com Verification Program until August 31, 2010.
Despite the fact that apexonlinepharmacy.com is not a PharmacyChecker-approved online pharmacy and has not been for about five years, Mr. Horton saw an angle in the allegations against Mr. Akinyoyenu to take a shot at PharmacyChecker and give his blog post the false and misleading title “Another PharmacyChecker Approved Internet Pharmacy Gets Indicted.” The indictment is not of the pharmacy, but of Mr. Akenyoyenu himself and it makes no mention of PharmacyChecker. (more…)
When it comes to prescription drugs and the public health, safety and affordability have to be considered together. People are at risk if they obtain medication that doesn’t work because it’s counterfeit, adulterated or substandard. At the same time, a perfectly safe and effective prescription drug will not help someone who cannot afford it. We help protect the public health by obtaining, verifying and providing information about online pharmacies and prescription drug prices that consumers can use to help maximize access to safe and affordable medication.
As we’ve said time and again, the key is to stay away from rogue online pharmacies by sticking with pharmacy sites publishing a valid PharmacyChecker.com seal, or accreditations from the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites program or LegitScript. Many members, but not all, of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association are verified by PharmacyChecker.com as well.
The dangers of “rogue” international online pharmacies that sell fake or substandard medication go beyond just those affecting your health. Rogues are also known for playing loose with your personal information, including fraudulently charging your credit card or even selling the information to other scammers.
The DEA has issued a press release warning about criminals impersonating DEA special agents in an attempt to extort Americans who may have purchased medication from disreputable websites. The scammers, posing as DEA agents, call consumers and inform them that they have committed a crime in their online or telephone purchase of pharmaceuticals, sometimes citing illegal drug importation. The scammer then insists that the consumer pay a “fine” or face criminal prosecution. The reality is that DEA agents will never personally call a person to demand any form of payment. If you receive one of these bogus calls just refuse their demand and report the rogue activity to the DEA.
Keep in mind that the DEA is primarily concerned with controlled substances, such as Ambien and Oxycontin. Any penalties for ordering non-controlled medication would be served by the FDA and the FDA has never prosecuted or fined an individual for personally importing medications.
If you’re looking for a safe, international online pharmacy, one that will only sell you genuine medication and protract your personal and financial information, then stick to PharmacyChecker.com-verified sites. You can view a list of some verified pharmacies on our website.
Last year, PharmacyChecker.com criticized BeSafeRx, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s online pharmacy public education campaign, for implying that all online pharmacies located outside the U.S. are fake pharmacies. BeSafeRx discourages Americans who cannot afford medicine at their local pharmacies from accessing medicine online internationally, which has been shown to be safe if done properly. Real pharmacies in Canada and other countries sell the same medication sold here for much lower prices. Misinformation becomes a public health threat when it discourages people from finding viable ways of accessing needed medication. BeSafeRx has a new database program that enables consumers to check the license of a U.S. pharmacy found online. That’s nice, but the program reinforces the message that Americans should only buy from U.S. pharmacies, never over the Internet from foreign pharmacies. What is the FDA’s logic?
Here is an excerpt from the FDA’s website on importing prescription drugs:
FDA cannot ensure the safety and effectiveness of products that are not FDA-approved and come from unknown sources and foreign locations, or that may not have been manufactured under proper conditions. These unknowns put patient’s health at risk if they cannot be sure of the products identity, purity, and source. For these reasons, FDA recommends only obtaining medicines from legal sources in the U.S.
Just because the FDA does not vouch for prescription medication sold in other countries does not mean that prescription medications sold abroad are less safe than those sold domestically. There are other national drug regulatory authorities to help safeguard medication. For example, Health Canada’s Therapeutic Products Directorate approves and regulates drugs in Canada in almost exactly the same way the FDA does here. Americans who order medication from safe international online pharmacies, such as those verified by PharmacyChecker.com, receive medication regulated under the authority of a foreign country.
The new FDA database is only helpful if you need to check the license of a U.S. pharmacy found online with prices you can afford. If you can’t afford to pay a pharmacy’s prices, the safety of its medications are irrelevant.
A report this morning on CBS News mentions PharmacyChecker.com as one of the most useful websites for people looking for online pharmacies and warns consumers to be careful of sites not certified by a third party.
Taking note that generic Oxycontin (oxycodone) is soon to be legally available for sale in Canada (See the Vancouver Sun); we remind Americans that reputable Canadian-based online pharmacies do not sell Oxycontin or other controlled prescription drugs to Americans. Oxycontin is a highly addictive narcotic, designated as a schedule II controlled pain medication in the U.S. When taken appropriately under a doctor’s supervision, Oxycontin can be very effective in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Unfortunately, Oxycontin and other pain medications can easily be abused. Painkillers are responsible for 15,000 deaths annually, more than are attributed to heroin use and all other illegal drugs combined, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy alerted U.S. border agents to be on the lookout for imports of generic Oxycontin. Under the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act only appropriately licensed U.S. online pharmacies can dispense schedule II controlled drugs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s drug importation policy prioritizes the agency’s enforcement actions against illegal wholesale importers, but has generally permitted individual Americans to import small orders of non-controlled prescription drugs. Unlike regular prescription medication, the sale of controlled drugs, such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Ambien, are regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency not the FDA and subject to much stricter enforcement. PharmacyChecker.com evaluates and monitors non-U.S. online pharmacies in our program to make sure they do not sell controlled medications to Americans. See our Controlled Substances Policy.