What’s Really In The Drugs You Buy Over The Internet?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent a letter to manufacturers and trade groups seeking their help in preventing distribution of tainted drugs in the U.S.

Although the letter does not mention Internet sources, it’s clear that the concerns in the letter can be extended to penis pill, diet pill and Canadian pharmacy (which are really not in Canada) web sites.

The letter lists adulterants that should be enough to scare any sensible human from EVER considering buying the stuff advertised in that flood of spam email that seems to wash over all of us:

“FDA laboratory tests have revealed an alarming variety of undeclared active ingredients in products marketed as dietary supplements, including anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin), anticonvulsants (e.g., phenytoin), HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (e.g., lovastatin), phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., indomethacin), and beta blockers (e.g., propranolol). FDA has also identified products marketed as dietary supplements that contain active pharmaceutical ingredients removed from the market for safety reasons (e.g., fenfluramine), as well as new chemical ingredients of unknown safety. Some products marketed as dietary supplements have been found to contain controlled substances (e.g., benzodiazepines and anabolic steroids).”

According to the letter, the FDA investigations have also resulted in criminal prosecutions and nearly 200 recalls:

“Where FDA investigations have discovered products marketed as dietary supplements that contain the same active ingredients as in FDA-approved drug products, analogs of such drug ingredients, or other compounds of concern, such as novel synthetic steroids, FDA has issued warning letters and conducted seizures and criminal prosecutions. FDA has also worked with industry on the recall of numerous products with such potentially harmful ingredients, including more than 70 products marketed for sexual enhancement, more than 40 products marketed for weight loss, and more than 80 products marketed for body building. The Agency has also issued consumer alerts and press announcements to warn consumers about such products.”

Tom Kelchner is Research Center Manager at Sunbelt Software. Tom is a communications professional with extensive background in computer security, anti-virus application testing and computer virus analysis. He is a former daily newspaper reporter and deputy press secretary to governor of Pennsylvania.