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Canada Internet Pharmacies

"Operation Bait and Switch" Causes Concern


Updated September 18, 2013

Canada Pharmacy: The Best Place To Buy?

Many people shopping for affordable prescription drugs have looked on the Internet and found sites which claim to be a Canada pharmacy. It is no secret that many Canada pharmacies claim to offer less expensive drugs of the same quality as those found in the United States.

Just as a Canada pharmacy may maintain the drugs it sells are safe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned people about buying drugs outside of the United States because it is not possible for the agency to ensure the safety of what they are unable to regulate. It has become a veritable tug-of-war.

FDA Operation Sheds Light on "Canada Pharmacy"

In August, 2005, the FDA conducted "Operation Bait and Switch" at three U.S. airports - JFK Airport in New York City, Miami International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport.

During the operation:

  • The FDA inspected all mail parcels suspected of containing prescription drugs sent from India, Israel, Costa Rica, and Vanuatu (previously noted as drug sources for pharmacies claiming to be in Canada).
  • 4,000 mail parcels were inspected. About 1,700 (43 percent) were ordered from a Canada pharmacy on the Internet.
  • Only 15 percent of the drugs purported to be from Canada actually originated from Canada.
  • 85 percent of the drugs which claimed to be from Canada actually were manufactured in 27 different countries.
  • Many of the drugs were not labeled in English, adding to confusion.
  • Thirty two of the intercepted drugs were found to be counterfeit.

The FDA is working with Canadian drug regulatory and law enforcement authorities, determined to keep the U.S. drug supply safe and find those responsible for illegal activity.

Clearly, not all drugs ordered from a Canada pharmacy on the Internet are problematic. The FDA operation should serve as a serious reminder for buyers to follow guidelines which will help ensure the safety of prescription drugs bought from Canada.

Tips When Ordering From A Canada Pharmacy

The following resources provide tips buyers should follow when ordering from a Canada pharmacy on the Internet:


FDA Operation Reveals Many Drugs Promoted As "Canadian" Products Really Originate From Other Countries, FDA, 12/16/05

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