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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is moving to protect consumers from so-called “Canadian Pharmacies” and other online pharmacies that sell potentially dangerous, unapproved medicines to shoppers.

These pharmacies, many of which apparently operate under the umbrella of a unified crime network, often display advertisements and certifications suggesting they are “FDA approved” or “brand name” drugs, leading consumers to believe that the products are as safe as the ones they might find in a “normal” pharmacy.

The FDA undertook an operation known as Pangea VI, which targeted these websites for their illegal activities. Many of the products were discovered to have circumvented various FDA safety protocols; various medicines found on these illicit online stores included Clozapine (a potentially dangerous schizophrenia-treatment drug that should only be used under close supervision) and “Generic Celebrex,” which is not FDA-approved.

The websites were also implicated in various other crimes such as credit card fraud and identity theft, and they are known to use major pharmacy names from the United States in order to appear legitimate.

The FDA has encouraged consumers to report any suspicious or illegal activity they may witness to It is critically important for people to be aware of the dangers of illicit online retailers who may be selling dangerous, unapproved and potentially-fatal medicines, as well as stealing one’s identity or credit card information.

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