RIVERSIDE, Calif.- - Pharmaceuticals purchased from unauthorized vendors may contain hazardous substances that endanger the buyer's health, so stay away from them, Riverside County officials warned today.
District Attorney Mike Hestrin was joined by former Rep. Mary Bono of Palm Springs and others for a news briefing in downtown Riverside announcing the seizure of 9,700 doses of different drugs that prosecutors alleged were being sold by unlicensed distributors -- two in Corona, one in Moreno Valley and two in Riverside.
Seven people were involved in the operations, according to the D.A.'s office, and criminal charges have been filed against the parties.
According to the agency, the raids spotlight the ease with which misbranded or bogus pharmaceuticals can be sold.
``(The drugs) carry potential dangers, which can include missing key ingredients, having the wrong active ingredients, being the wrong strength and dosage, contaminants (and) improper labeling,'' according to a D.A.'s office statement.
The agency stated that unlawfully sold pharmaceuticals are at risk of poor to nonexistent oversight and may contain elements that trigger potentially deadly allergic reactions.
``At this time, the D.A.'s office doesn't know if anyone has been harmed from using any of the illicit pharmaceuticals that were sold at any of the locations (raided by investigators),'' the agency said.
Prosecutors noted that many illegally sold pharmaceuticals are imported from Mexico and target the Spanish-speaking community.
``Those drugs are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale or use in the United States,'' according to the D.A.'s office. ``Federal regulations require that all pertinent information ... on a medication's label (be) in the English language.''
Educational campaigns are planned to ensure business owners and swap meet vendors countywide understand the law and the perils of illicit pharmaceuticals.
Ali Schroder has fell victim to this pressing public health issue, after buying pharmaceuticals online.
"I did what many of us do, and I trusted my doctor," Schroder said. "My doctor said I think you should go to CanadaPharmacy.com. I send a lot of patients there, it's really great."
But the end result was anything but great.
"I truly had no idea that online pharmacies could be unsafe or illicit," said Schroder. "So when I realized I had become a victim to that- I was shocked."
Anyone with information about sales of illegal drugs was asked to contact the D.A.'s office at (951) 955-4080.
Here are some resources to verify that a pharmacy is legitimate:
- www.buysaferx.pharmacy verifies the legality of online pharmacies.
- goodrx.com helps patients locate the lowest prices at local pharmacies and offers coupons from legitimate pharmacies.
- refillwise.com offers cash savings from legitimate pharmacies.
Noticias en español: Telemundo 15