A recent international online pharmacy crackdown has led to over $41 million in illegal drugs confiscated.  These counterfeit drugs were part of a wave of over 1,600 websites that were shut down during the series of busts conducted by U.S. and international regulators.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claimed that it used federal court warrants to seize website domain names and leave internet messages for visitors, informing them of the consequences of selling counterfeit drugs.

The Washington Post reports on a developing problem in contemporary drug industry as the number of illegitimate internet drug retailers continues to rise.  These sites appear professional and often times have URL spellings that are very similar to those of legitimate web pharmacies, misdirecting patients from the proper online sources.  According to a counterfeit drug awareness campaign run by the FDA, there are numerous risks for patients buying drugs from illegitimate websites.  Patients may receive counterfeit or even substandard drugs, meaning that they could be contaminated, expired, or otherwise unsafe.

Medicine that is not approved by the FDA or prescribed by your doctor can have minor variations in ingredients, drastically affecting the possible outcomes from their use.  Often, these variations can lead to a worsening of illness, a development of a resistance to the correct medicines that would have aided in recovery, or even alter how other medicines affect your body.

In addition to the health risks faced by using drugs from illegitimate online pharmacies, one further risks fraud when doing business with such companies — if a company is comfortable providing fake drugs, what is to say such a company wouldn’t steal your personal or financial information as well.