Yes, even if you don’t buy medicines from these stores yourself, you must have at least seen the ads for these websites. “Need beta blockers for a much lower price than your drugstore? Click here!” and other such ad copy placed on banner ads.

Yes, they are cheap. Cheap enough for you to think again whether things are, indeed, all right. But they are a step ahead of you in the thinking process. We’ve cut through red tape and have managed to reduce all our overheads by not having a brick-and-mortar store. That’s how we can afford to be so competitive.

If It Looks To Good To Be True….

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that up to half of the illegal pharmacies working online could be selling counterfeit medicines.

John Clark, former deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and now chief security officer and vice president of global security for Pfizer pharmaceuticals, explained that 78 counterfeit Pfizer medications have been found in 109 countries.

And what, pray, is Pfizer’s most famous drug of recent times?

Yes, you’re better off walking to your local store for that Viagra.

In a recent CNN report, a worker at a Pakistani counterfeit medicine factory said, “We prepare whatever is in high demand. But everything is the same, no matter what we call it. We put the very same ingredients in all of these capsules, and the very same syrup in all of these bottles. Only the color is different.”

The WHO places China and India as the biggest countries in the game. The illicit pharmacies that they sell to are even more shrewd than these guys. They tell their prospective American clients that they are Canadian in order to put their minds at ease.

Big Business

Though it is difficult to keep track of the size of the business, the WHO estimates the counterfeit drugs business to be worth a whopping $431 billion a year industry.

The industry attracts a lot of players because of its low risk and high reward. Even if individuals are actually caught, the sentencing for the crime varies, specially since the counterfeited items in particular are being sold outside their respective countries.

Bucking The Trend

The lack of a global law that would govern the issue is certainly a hurdle. But coordination between the nations of the world on the issue is increasing.

Only from 2010 to 2014, did the Interpol crack down on more than 57,000 online pharmacies.

But even if the websites are being shut down, the same individuals can simply set up a new account and get back on track.

This is a case where consumer vigilance is of utmost importance. So do look out if you absolutely have to shop online for drugs!