Online vaccines available from suspect sources

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Vaccines in short supply are suspiciously plentiful online. More than 83% of the online vendors, however, have made the "Not Recommended Site" list of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. None are accredited by the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites.

Researchers Bryan Liang and Tim Mackey of the California Western School of Law in San Diego used Google, Facebook and Twitter to find the sellers, 75% of which are international. Some sellers even claimed the vaccines are over-the-counter medicines and therefore available without prescription.

The FDA has identified critical shortages in vaccines for hepatitis B, pediatric and adult hepatitis A, and zoster vaccines.

Liang and Mackey reported in the journal Vaccine that counterfeits aren't the whole problem. Poor quality prophylactics, suspect materials, questionable sourcing, diversion and improper storage add to the supply of the substandard shots likely to be found online. The need for cold chain conditions throughout the supply chain increases the danger.

- see the story
- here's the Liang and Mackey abstract (paper available for purchase)
- and the FDA list of biologic products in short supply
- FDA fraudulent H1N1 products widget

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