Pharmaceutical Brandjacking – Controlled Buy

As part of our recent study of the online pharmaceutical market we decided to make some prescription drug purchases from some of the uncertified online pharmacies that we identified in the study.

Analyzing the purchase details and the product that was shipped to us in this example raises troubling questions about the business practices of the seller. First, we were able to purchase a prescription drug without a prescription. Second, even in the outsourced global business world, the geographic distribution of this transaction is at best diverse and certainly suspect. Third, the site has falsified at least one certification. And, lastly the brand name product ordered did not match the brand that was delivered.

The following points illustrate our purchase experience and the global nature of illicit online pharmacies:

  1. The site we bought from represented itself as based in the United States. In fact, their phone number area code is from Southern California. The site offered brand name prescription drugs to treat a variety of medical conditions. We did not have to provide any information about a prescription in order to buy these drugs.
    Pharmachy Site
  2. The site falsified a “hacker safe” certification. They still carry an outdated logo from HackerSafe which is now a McAfee product and their site is not listed among the McAfee Secure certified sites.
    Check Out Page with Outdated McAfee 'Certification'
  3. The IP address of the server hosting their site is in Russia and our credit card was billed from Israel.
  4. The pills were shipped from India.
    Shipping Envelope from India
  5. The pharmaceuticals that we received were a different brand than we ordered. We believe that the drugs that we received are a simvastatin variant produced for another geographic market. We can’t speak to the quality or authenticity of these prescription drugs without scientific testing but we do know that we were able to buy a prescription drug very easily without a prescription at this illicit online pharmacy.

Online consumers need to be very cautios when buying from prescription drugs online. Consult the National Board of Pharmacies site for information on VIPPs-certified pharmacies.