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Along with increasing penalties, there also needs to be an increased effort to educate the public about counterfeiting drugs, the officials said. At the hearing, Crosse said that people are now using the Internet to try to find cheap prices for their medications.
The FDA has found that nearly 1 in 4 Americans who shop online have purchased prescription drugs from Internet pharmacies. In 2013, the FDA took agency against 1,677 rogue pharmacy websites as part of a global enforcement initiative.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has urged the FDA and lawmakers to provide an Internet site where consumers and medical providers can check to see whether a website selling medications is legitimate.
The 2012 user fee reauthorization law also included provisions to improve the security of the supply chain, creating an interoperable “track and trace” system to follow drugs as they move from manufacturer to distributor.
The law also requires foreign and domestic companies to provide complete information on threats to the supply chain, as well as improving information on registered facilities.
Ellyn Ferguson contributed to this report.