PF arrests 2 for selling medicine over the internet
Author: Elisangela Roxo
Source: O Estado de S. Paulo, 19/09/2007
An operation by the Federal Police and the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) ended yesterday with the arrest of two people and the seizure of medicines in São Paulo and Brasília. The drugs were sold over the internet, through websites and instant communicators. A computer was seized in the municipality of Unaí, State of Minas, and will be analyzed by the PF.
Anabolic steroids, abortions and tranquilizers, among other restricted-sale products, were found in large quantities in both capitals. "We suspect that there is a network of illegal import and trade," says the PF delegate responsible for the Cyber Crime Repression Unit (URCC), Adalton de Almeida Martins.
The arrests and seizures are an offshoot of Operation Placebo, launched in six states in July. The results come from the work of Anvisa's drug advertising monitoring division and the investigation of complaints made to the agency and the PF. "We fought the problems of illegal drug advertising on the Internet for a year," says the president of Anvisa, Dirceu Raposo de Mello.
He states that most of the investigated sites are hosted outside Brazil. "Spams and search engines indicate the links that lead to illegal merchants."
The consumer is attracted by the ease of finding the drug and the low prices, but there is no security in the virtual purchase of medicines. "The population, with the proper medical prescription, should look for establishments authorized by Anvisa, with a responsible pharmacist", says Mello.
In São Paulo, not even pharmacies are free of medicines without authorization. The Sanitary Surveillance Center prohibited the sale and manufacture of herbal medicines Ginko Biloba and Espinheira Santa of the company Vita Vita Comércio e Indústria, in Hortolândia, in São Paulo.
The products are not registered with the Ministry of Health, so the State Secretariat determined the withdrawal of units from the market.
“We recommend that the consumer who bought Vita Vita's medicines seek his doctor to assess which procedure is best for his health”, says the director of the Technical Division of Products of the Health Surveillance Center, Isabel de Lelis Moraes.
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