Medicine, of course, costs money. Like with every other commodity, the law of supply and demand applies to the pharmaceutical industry as well. The less common a medicine is the more money it will cost. That is especially true regarding patented drugs, since generic alternatives are not yet available.
The pharmaceutical market generates $200 billion in revenue each year. That’s an open invitation for competition, but also for scam artists.
Numerous offshore websites enable consumers to order medicines online. You pay by credit card and wait a week or two to receive your order. So far so good. But how do you know that what you ordered is what you received? Is it original or bootlegged? Is it a cheap imitation? Is it the same dose as you need or is it intentionally mispackaged? Perhaps its expiration date passed and it was re-stamped with a seemingly valid one? Or maybe it’s just a placebo?
But you don’t have to go online or overseas to fall victim to a drug scam. In 2009, a drug distribution firm based in Tennessee was shut down by authorities. It was discovered that it had been purchasing pills through networks of “diverters” in Miami and New York who obtained them from people at random or from nursing homes, repackaged them and then re-sold them to pharmacies across the U.S. Federal authorities estimated that the scam netted $60 million over a three-year period.
That being the case, it’s incumbent to ask how do you know that the online pharmacy you’re buying medicine from is legitimate? One site, which claimed to belong to the United States National Medical Association, was willing to counsel anyone who inquired. But it was all fake. The site, which has since been taken down, was a phishing scam that used the personal information provided by visitors to enable the criminals who ran it to commit identity fraud.
What if You Have a Disease that Is Resistant to Permitted Medicines?
One of the most pernicious targets of pharmaceutical scammers is its focus on sufferers of chronic conditions and terminal diseases. Anyone in such a condition would be willing to try something else, something new and even something experimental, which is not yet approved for sale in his or her own country. The Food and Drug Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has identified at least 80 products that “claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure cancer.” All of them were marketed and sold without FDA approval, mostly online. Since they have not been reviewed by FDA for safety and efficacy, they should be considered potentially dangerous.
Fake E-Mail Warnings
A completely different type of pharmaceutical scam is perpetrated domestically. Scammers, for example, have been known to spam Americans who have bought medicines on overseas internet sites warning them that they are under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration for having done so. The emails may or may not make financial demands on the recipients, or may be intended as phishing attempts to obtain personal information that can then be used for identity theft. The Food and Drug Administration never sends notices such as this to consumers and recipients are advised to ignore them.
If you think you have been victimized by a pharmaceutical scam, consult with our fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack.