FDA Imposters

Patients already have enough to worry about without now having to worry about this.

On December 29, 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public warning about people purporting to be from the FDA who contact patients who have ordered medications online or via a phone order. The FDA imposters tell these patients that their purchases are illegal and they must pay fines, usually by wire transfer to locations outside the US. The FDA notes that some of the patients who refused to pay the fine or asked questions about the legality of online or phone transactions to purchase medications were threatened with arrest and other legal actions. In some cases, the FDA imposters not only obtained patients' phone numbers and other contact information, but also obtained their credit card information and made unauthorized purchases.

The FDA notes that impersonating an official from the FDA violates federal law. Although it seems obvious that patients should know that the FDA would never threaten legal action (let alone call patients), apparently some patients have believed the FDA imposters.

Patients can be directed to the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Metro Washington Field Office at (800) 521-5783 to report suspected FDA imposters. Also, patients and the public need to know that there are imposters of all sorts out there--not only the FDA but also the CIA, FBI, etc.