The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued an urgent warning to 350 medical practices that they may have bought counterfeit Botox from a network of wholesalers operated by CanadaDrugs. The company has also been linked to a series of fake cancer medicines and other defective pharmaceuticals that were likely produced in China.
The Wall Street Journal reported that this is the fifth time the FDA has warned consumers and hospitals about fake drugs mostly distributed by the 10-year-old online pharmaceutical company. Canada mostly profits by selling drugs from price-controlled markets to the U.S. The FDA considers this practice to be illegal because it has not approved the drugs and due to serious concerns regarding the integrity of these drugs.
American regulators sought to shut down a consumer-facing website controlled by CanadaDrugs last September, but were unsuccessful. The FDA claims to still be investigating the company.
The FDA has not confirmed whether any patients were injected with the counterfeit Botox that it discovered. The agency is simply saying that the products were not manufactured in FDA-approved facilities or packaged for sale in the U.S.
Botox is typically retailed by the drugmaker Allergan for $525 per vial. Illegal discount Botox may be obtained for much less and many medical providers will still bill patients and insurers for the premium prices even when they buy illicit Botox for lower prices.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Illicit Botox Sparks Alert," Christopher Weaver, Dec. 23, 2012