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News Article

FDA Notifies Amazon of Potentially Dangerous Products

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 08/02/2021 - 17:49

The FDA warned Amazon in a letter that some of the sexual enhancement and weight-loss products it had available for sale in the US had potentially harmful ingredients, including dildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil. These are active ingredients in FDA-approved prescription drugs Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, which are used to treat erectile dysfunction, but these ingredients could interact with some prescription drugs and lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.

Viagra is one of the most common examples of online drug purchases as it is often sold cheaply online and without a prescription or the advice of a pharmacist, explains the NHS. Nonetheless, drugs must be prescribed in a suiting dosage for the patient, with a warning about possible side effects and of potential harmful interactions with other medicines.

Regulatory agencies and health services such as the FDA and the NHS have warned users of the possible dangers of buying medicines online, as there is a danger of purchasing products from fake websites.

José Crespo, CEO of Farmalisto Mexico explained to MBN the requirements a regulated medicine supplier has to comply with. In Mexico, COFEPRIS does not differentiate between e-pharmacies and pharmacies, thus both providers must be registered and approved by COFEPRIS. “Being members of Mexico’s Internet Association and the Mexican Association of Online Sales also helps with reputation and status,” said Crespo.

Crespo also explained that some online platform, such as Google and PayPal, are helping governments fight against the sale pirated or fake drugs. “These two companies are also allies to the Mexican government in detecting fake websites and monitoring the e-commerce sector.”

However, when purchasing drugs from Amazon, the risks are different as the patient depends on the agility of regulatory agencies to spot dangerous sales. For instance, the non-prescription drugs sold in Amazon identified by the FDA were misbranded because their labels do not accurately reflect their ingredients and the US products with undeclared drug ingredients violate federal law. The ingredients the FDA found and that were approved for prescription drugs are restricted to use under the supervision of a licensed health care professional.

Amazon allowed the purchase of medicines starting last year with the launch of Amazon Pharmacy in the US, where prescription drugs are sold to Prime members. Amazon Pharmacy is now just one more pharmacy to choose from, alongside Walgreens or CVS. However, Amazon does not sell prescription drugs in Mexico.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst