SUMMARY: The Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act,
which was enacted on October 15, 2008,amended the Controlled Substances Act and Controlled Substances Import and Export Act by adding several new provisions to prevent the illegal distribution and dispensing of controlled substances by means of the Internet.
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On June 10th, 2013, Global Pharmacy Canada, a fake Internet pharmacy based in Belize, was forced by the Ontario Court of Appeal to shut down offices in Toronto for violating Ontario’s professional pharmacy rules. Global Pharmacy Canada was originally cited by Health Canada for marketing drugs to Canadians that were not of Canadian origin on July 27, 2010. While still in operation, they can no longer maintain offices in Canada.
In a ruling handed down June 10th, the Ontario Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by Global Pharmacy Canada to counter the cease and desist ruling of the Ontario College of Pharmacists for all its business operations in Canada. The ruling described Global Pharmacy Canada’s Ontario operation as “its sales force,” and noted that although the sales, purchases and orders were all processed through the Canadian call center, the drugs were actually fulfilled by an unidentified “Indian pharmacist.” In her judgment, Justice Eileen E. Gillespe remarked “I note that there is no named pharmacist in India. There is no indication in any of the documentation sent to the client who the supplier of the drugs may be, and whether or not these drugs in fact come from an Indian pharmacist as represented, or from a supplier of drugs.”
The National Post reports that the Court of Appeal confirmation of the Ontario College of Pharmacists ruling will be enforced, and Global Pharmacy Canada must cease all operations in Canada, and close their offices in Mississauga, Ontario by June 25th.
In 2010, Health Canada, the Canadian drug agency analogous to the United States’ FDA, issued a warning about Global Pharmacy Canada saying “Products sold at the Global Pharmacy Canada website have not been authorized for sale by Health Canada, and Global Pharmacy Canada is not a licensed pharmacy in Canada. Canadians who have used any products purchased at the company’s website, or are concerned about their health, should consult with their healthcare practitioner.”
Health Canada went even further, warning that so-called “Canadian pharmacies” may not be in Canada at all. “Consumers should also be aware that there is no assurance that all claims made on the internet that a particular site is Canadian and / or a pharmacy, are reliable. Some internet sites may falsely claim to be a Canadian pharmacy and dispense foreign drugs that are unauthorized for sale in Canada.”
Legitscript identifies Global Pharmacy Canada as a “rogue Internet Pharmacy,” and that they are “not a licensed Canadian pharmacy,” warning consumers to avoid contact with them.
In 2012, the Oregonian did a story on Global Pharmacy Canada. They spoke to Portland resident John Horton, founder of Legitscript, as well as Patricia Parker, a local resident who had purchased her medication from Global Pharmacy Canada. They also spoke with the operator of the call center that manages Global Pharmacy Canada’s sales. Patricia Parker originally purchased her blood thinner from Global Pharmacy Canada, but when she found out that Legistscript had classified them as a rogue pharmacy she told the Oregonian “I’m so angry, I’m spitting tacks.”
The Oregonian reported that Legitscript tracked Global Pharmacy Canada’s drug shipment path to Belize where the company is registered, and is part of a network with ties to Azerbaijan and Czech Republic. The operator of Global Pharmacy Canada’s call center, Richard Perko, explained why an Internet pharmacy company based in Belize would use a call center in Canada. “[Americans] don’t like calling India, Singapore, the Philippines or whatever.” Petko claimed to run call center operations for several so-called “Canadian” pharmacies. He explained that “hardly anyone even operates a pharmacy. No one is shipping drugs from Canada. It’s a worldwide business,” reported The Oregonian.
You can protect yourself and your loved ones from unscrupulous fake online pharmacy operators posing as homespun Canadian pharmacies. Take a few minutes to review our Facts About Importing Drugs from Canada to learn more.