FDA looks to crack down on illegal opioid marketers in the US with help of social networks
The US’s Food and Drug Administration latest crackdown is targeting pharmacies selling illegal opioids online. The agency has issued warning letters this week to nine online pharmacies that run 53 websites selling drugs with suspect monikers like “Roxycodone” and “Tramadol Generic.”
The majority of the websites were shut down a day later, aside from OneStopPharma.org—was still operating Thursday morning.
While legitimate FDA-approved pharma opioid makers had stopped marketing to consumers and even doctors a long time ago, illegal online “pill-pushing” remains rampant. Causing the FDA to enlisting assistance from the online platforms that host or display ads from the fly-by-night pharmacies.
Facebook and Twitter are among the digital and social media companies FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is pressuring for help. He has invited those companies, among others, to participate in its “FDA Online Opioid Summit” set for June 27.
“The internet is virtually awash in illegal narcotics, and we’re going to be taking new steps to work with legitimate internet firms to voluntarily crack down on these sales,” Gottlieb said in a statement announcing the crackdown on online marketers. The summit is aimed at finding “new ways to work collaboratively” with the social and tech companies “to address these issues.”
Purdue Pharma quit marketing its opioid drug Oxycontin to doctors earlier this year, while other opioid makers—including Endo, Teva, Allergan and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit—had all stopped marketing opioids before Purdue’s announcement, with some backing off several years ago.