US COPD Coalition

FDA Warns Consumers of New Scam


The U.S. Food & Drug Administration is waring consumers that if they tried buying drugs online and received a warning letter from the FDA instead of the drugs, they have likely been by scam artists. The press release announcing the FDA’s concerns notes that while the FDA does routinely issue warning letters, they are typically sent to manufacturers, not consumers:

“Based on the agency’s experience with criminals posing as FDA employees, the FDA is concerned that these fake warning letters are linked to an international extortion scam. The FDA generally does not issue warning letters to individuals who purchase medicines online. ‘While warning letters are a common compliance tool used by the FDA, we typically send them directly to companies and individuals involved in the manufacturing or distribution of FDA-regulated products,’ said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. ‘Consumers who aren’t involved in manufacturing or distributing FDA regulated products should be on alert that if you get an FDA warning letter, it’s probably fake, and probably a scam.’”

The press release stresses the dangers consumers face when buying medications online. “These risks range from receiving unapproved and potentially counterfeit medicines to unknowingly making themselves targets to scams like these. Many of these illegal websites appear legitimate, and it can be hard to tell the difference between a legally operating online pharmacy and a rogue website. We understand the temptation to buy online, and there are ways to do it safely, including only buying from U.S.-licensed pharmacies that require a prescription. ”

See a PDF version of the FDA’s press release below: