September 30, 2019
Four online networks that illegally sell opioid medications are being warned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to cease such sales.
The networks – Divyata, Euphoria Healthcare Pvt Ltd., JCM Dropship and Meds4U – are illegally selling unapproved and misbranded opioids, including tramadol, according to the agencies.
The FDA and DEA issued joint warning letters to the networks on Monday, urging them to immediately stop selling the medications to U.S. consumers. The networks collectively operate 10 websites.
The networks knowingly advertise and sell controlled substances, including opioids, despite having failed to register their online pharmacies with the DEA, according to the agencies. Some of the networks' websites offer opioids without a prescription.
The networks have 15 days to respond to the FDA and DEA. Those that fail to correct the violations may face legal repercussions.
Patients who purchase opioids or other prescription medicines from such illegal website put their health at risk, the agencies warned. Products may be counterfeit, contaminated or expired.
"As the FDA works to forcefully tackle the opioid crisis on all fronts, we cannot allow rogue online pharmacies to continue to fuel the crisis by illegally offering opioids for sale and circumventing the important safeguards that have been put in place for opioids to help protect the public health," acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said in a statement.
The FDA has approved a version of tramadol, a pain reliever commonly sold under the brands ConZip and Ultram. The drug carries a boxed warning – the FDA's most prominent warning – detailing various risks, including addiction and life-threatening respiratory depression. When taken with other depressants, including alcohol, tramadol can prove fatal.