Drs. Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz co-write a column that appears in many newspapers around the country. Their posts appear in our regional newspaper, The Sun Herald about four times each week.
Recently they wrote a piece entitled “Beware those fake meds online.” In it, they identified the impetus for these scams, “they’re big business.” Some examples:
• In Britain, 237 people arrested for storing $31 million of phony “meds” scheduled for distribution from 10, 600 websites worldwide. The two doctors say 72% of the fakes were from India, 11% from China.
• The FDA blocked the sale of a “weight loss med,” B-Perfect, contained a pulled-off-the-market, controlled substance called sibutramine and a known carcinogen, phenolphtalein.
• FDA also blocked the sale and distribution of erectile dysfunction (ED) medications, “Full Throttle” and “Hard Up” that contained impure toxins along with the active ingredients found in Viagra and Cialis. If taken with certain medications, such as nitroglycerine, they can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. ED is common in patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, so the combination is not unlikely.
• They also say, “Recently, the FDA shut down 1,677 illegal pharmacy websites that sold fake ‘brand name’ and ‘FDA-approved’ meds that were neither.” They recommend checking www.FDA.gov “to identify dangerous supplements in ‘miraculous’ weight loss, muscle building and sexual enhancement products. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
If scammers will take advantage of people with people medicines, they will certainly not hesitate to ruin your pet’s life and health.
The good news is that you have a way to check on such products marketed for people. The bad news is, there is no such central clearinghouse for pet products. What’s a pet owner to do? The simple answer is deal with someone you know.
Your veterinarian may have been in his location for years, and he’s likely going nowhere. Veterinarians purchase our medications directly from manufacturers or distributors, so we are confident of the genuine source of the pharmaceuticals, and, if there ever is a problem, you know where to find him. Furthermore, if a problem needs to be addressed, you can look him in the eye as you discuss the event.
Try doing that with an online pharmacy.
See you next week, Dr. Randolph.