38ºF

FDA cracks down on 21 websites illegally selling opioids

As the opioid epidemic has skyrocketed in the United States, a rise in the number of drug overdose deaths has contributed to a rise in organ transplants, made possible by overdose-death donors, across the country.
As the opioid epidemic has skyrocketed in the United States, a rise in the number of drug overdose deaths has contributed to a rise in organ transplants, made possible by overdose-death donors, across the country. (CNN)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on 21 websites accused of illegally selling opioids online.

The agency says some of the drugs the websites are selling are actually a dangerous form of "pressed fentanyl."

According to a news release Tuesday, the four businesses targeted -- CoinRX, MedInc-dot-biz, PharmacyAffiliates.org and PharmaMedics -- operate the 21 websites.

They were issued warning letters ordering them to immediately stop selling the products.

“The illegal online sale of opioids represents a serious risk to Americans and is helping to fuel the opioid crisis. Cutting off this flow of illicit internet traffic in opioids is critical, and we’ll continue to pursue all means of enforcement to hinder online drug dealers and curb this dangerous practice,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. 

He pointed out that the four letters sent Tuesday make a total of 13 warning letters to more than 70 websites just this summer.

“The FDA remains resolute in our promise to continue cracking down on these networks to protect the public health,” Gottlieb said. “We have more operations underway, and additional actions planned. We are also working closely with legitimate Internet stakeholders, including leading social media sites, in these public health efforts.”

Prescription painkillers are believed to be contributing to the deadly opioid epidemic across the nation. 

For more on the crackdown, go to www.fda.gov.