The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the international regulatory and law enforcement agencies have taken action against 4,402 websites that illegally sell dangerous and unapproved prescription drugs to consumers in the country.
The FDA action was a part of Operation Pangea IX, the Ninth Annual International Internet Week of Action (IIWA), an Interpol-led global cooperative effort that fights against the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit medical products on the internet.
FDA office of criminal investigations director George Karavetsos said: "Preventing illegal internet sales of dangerous unapproved drugs is critical to protecting consumers' health.
"Operation Pangea IX demonstrates the FDA's continuing commitment to stand united with our international partners to protect consumers in the US and throughout the world from criminals who put profit above the health and safety of consumers."
The major aim of Operation Pangea IX was to recognise the makers and distributors of illegal prescription drug products, as well as to remove these products from the supply chain.
The FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, along with the Office of Regulatory Affairs, and Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research, participated in the enforcement action.
In collaboration with the US Customs and Border Protection, FDA conducted several inspections at International Mail Facilities (IMFs) and sent formal complaints to domain registrars urging the suspension of the 4,402 websites.
During the IIWA, the FDA also issued warning letters to the operators of 53 websites illegally offering unapproved and misbranded prescription drug products for sale to US consumers.
The IIWA is a collaboration formed by the FDA, the US Department of Homeland Security, Interpol, National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre, the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime, World Customs Organisation, Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers, the pharmaceutical industry and national health and law enforcement agencies across 115 participating countries.