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  5. Know Your Source: Protecting Patients from Unsafe Drugs
  1. Information for Health Care Professionals | Drugs

Know Your Source: Protecting Patients from Unsafe Drugs

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Protect Your Patients and Obey the Law

Patient Alert

Buying drugs from unlicensed sources is risky business. It puts your patients at risk of consuming drugs that may be unapproved, counterfeit, contaminated, or ineffective. If you purchase drugs from illegal sources, you are breaking the law and you may be subject to criminal investigation.

To reduce the public health threat posed by these potentially dangerous drugs FDA issues letters to inform doctors that may have obtained counterfeit or unapproved drugs from a rogue distributor, and provide tips on safe purchasing practices.

FDA Notice to Physicians (PDF - 160 KB)

Beware of Rogue Wholesale Drug Distributors

Wholesale drug distributors are a link between manufacturers and health care professionals. Their role is to ensure prescription medications are delivered safely and efficiently to thousands of health care practitioners and pharmacies nationwide every day.

While the U.S. health care supply chain is one of the most secure and sophisticated in the world, there is a growing network of rogue wholesale drug distributors selling potentially unsafe drugs in the U.S. market. 


Beware of Offers Too Good to be True flyer     Caution! Check the signs… flyer  

Beware of Offers Flyer (PDF 1.3 MB)       Caution! Check Signs Flyer (PDF 425 KB) 

en Español (PDF)       en Español (PDF)         


Reduce the Chance of a Potentially Unsafe Drug Reaching Your Patients

In order to protect your patients from unsafe or ineffective drugs, FDA urges health care professionals to verify that their supplier is licensed by the state. Drugs from rogue wholesale drug distributors may harm your patients and expose them to unknown risks or side effects.  FDA advises health care providers to know the source for prescription drugs.

Ensure you Receive FDA-Approved Prescription Drugs         Pay Close Attention to Patient Feedback flyer

Ensure You Receive Flyer (PDF 670 KB)       Pay Close Attention Flyer (PDF 237 KB)

en Español (PDF)       en Español (PDF)

For additional information on how you can protect your patients, see Brookings Article - Reducing the Threat of Counterfeit and Unapproved Drugs in Clinical Settings.

Please email questions or comments to CDERDrugSupplyChainIntegrity@fda.hhs.gov.

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