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Larissa Doucette

As part of the sixth annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took action against more than 9,600 Web sites illegally selling drugs that included counterfeit, substandard, and other potentially dangerous products. FDA seized and shut down 1,677 of the Web sites, and issued regulatory warnings to others. FDA reports that many of the Web sites that were shut down “appeared to be operating as a part of an organized criminal network that falsely purported its websites to be ‘Canadian Pharmacies.’” FDA notes that the Web sites displayed fake licenses and certifications, advertised brand name drugs, and claimed that drug products were FDA approved. Investigations during the course of Operation Pangea VI, part of the IIWA efforts, revealed that the products were not from Canada, were not brand-name products, and were not FDA approved. Operation Pangea VI brought together law enforcement, customs, and regulatory authorities from 99 countries “to identify the makers and distributors of illegal drug products and medical devices and remove these products from the supply chain,” indicates an FDA news release. IIWA is a collaborative effort involving FDA, INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization, Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers, and health and law enforcement agencies from the 99 participating countries. Worldwide, the efforts resulted in 58 arrests and “the seizure of 9.8 million potentially dangerous medicines,” reports INTERPOL. Private entities also aided in the IIWA effort, and LegitScript, an Internet pharmacy monitoring organization, contributed to the closure of 6,700 rogue online drug sellers, reports The Wall Street Journal.