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FDA partners with states to warn consumers that "looks can be deceiving"

ROCKVILLE, MD., April 13, 2004 -- The FDA announced a new partnership with the Virginia Pharmacists Association to distribute consumer educational materials outlining the risks of purchasing medicines outside of FDA's regulatory scope. Over the past month, FDA has co-sponsored agreements with state pharmacists associations in Illinois, California, Texas, Maryland, New York, and Nebraska, and the agency anticipates that additional agreements will be signed in the weeks ahead.

"When Americans import medicines illegally, they are faced with a dangerous buyer-beware' situation," said Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting FDA Commissioner. "Medicines bought from other countries may be counterfeit or adulterated, and FDA cannot guarantee their safety. FDA's Looks Can Be Deceiving' campaign is about spreading the message of consumer safety and educating Americans on how they can better protect their health."

As part of the Agency's consumer outreach effort, FDA also recently signed an agreement with the National Community Pharmacists Association to post FDA's educational materials on the NCPA website. Additionally, FDA has partnered with drugstore chains such as Thrifty White Drug Stores, Inc. in Minnesota to support this public information campaign.

The "Looks Can Be Deceiving" education campaign uses posters, prescription bag inserts, fliers and tabletop displays to remind pharmacy customers in straightforward language that imported drugs pose a safety risk. The materials list a number of concerns, including counterfeit drugs, untested substances, lack of quality assurance, and unsupervised use of drugs. They warn, "Looks can be deceiving. Don't risk your health".

"The pharmacist plays an important role in guiding patients with their medication decisions," said Carmen Catizone, Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. "The Looks Can be Deceiving' program helps patients understand the problems with illegally imported drugs and provides a way to work with your pharmacist to use medications safely."

For more information about FDA's educational efforts surrounding the risks of drug importation, visit

Source: FDA

Posted: April 2004

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