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Larissa Doucette

Several pharmacies in the Charlotte, NC, area have been approached by questionable drug wholesalers attempting to sell them drug supplies that may be fake, reports WSOCTV. One pharmacy owner indicated that he received calls from companies claiming to be new wholesalers on a daily basis. He indicated further that he avoids working with such companies for fear that they may be distributing dangerous counterfeits, and that he only buys drug supplies directly from the drug manufacturer.

In an April 2012 FDA statement, the agency urges the health care community “to examine their purchasing practices to ensure that they buy directly from the manufacturer or from licensed wholesale drug distributors in the United States.” The statement was issued following FDA’s action of requesting that medical practices in several states stop administering drugs purchased from any foreign or unlicensed source. In the statement, FDA notes that the “Verify Wholesale Drug Distributor Licenses” FDA Web page may be used to verify that a wholesale drug distributor is licensed in the state(s) where it is conducting business. Also, suspected criminal activity can be reported to FDA’s OCI by calling 800/551-3989 or completing the online form on the OCI Web Site.

Another way that pharmacies can be assured of the legitimacy of a wholesale distributor is to look for NABP’s Verified-Accredited Wholesale Distributors® (VAWD®) Seal. Those wholesale distributors that achieve VAWD accreditation are in compliance with state and federal laws and NABP’s VAWD criteria. Wholesale distributers that display the VAWD Seal as part of their accreditation have undergone a criteria compliance review, including a rigorous review of their operating policies and procedures, licensure verification, survey of facility and operations, background checks, and screening through the NABP Clearinghouse. Accredited facilities are reviewed annually and undergo a site survey every three years. Created in 2004, the accreditation program plays a pivotal role in preventing counterfeit drugs from entering the US drug supply.