Ordering drugs from online pharmacies can be a risky ordeal. Not only can they cause serious harm to your health, but they may expose you to credit card fraud and put you in a difficult position with the Thai authorities. Dr. Atthachai Homhuan, manager of the Regulatory Affairs group at Tilleke & Gibbins, recently expressed his views on this subject in an interview arranged by The BigChilli magazine, in which he explained some of the pitfalls of dealing with online pharmacies.
The prevalence of online pharmacies in Thailand is growing. “Online pharmacy websites are extremely popular in Thailand with the booming of the Internet and the social media,” Atthachai says. “Illegal online websites originating in Thailand are offering drugs banned or restricted by the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” he continues. This is problematic, because “The drugs could be counterfeit, expired, or could go bad during transport, which may cause serious harm or even death.” On top of this, Atthachai warns that “customers are at risk of legal action being taken against them by the FDA or Customs if banned or restricted drugs addressed to them are found, for example at a post office.” Also, “Credit card information can be stolen because most of the people running illegal online pharmacies are criminals,” and, moreover, “minors can order controlled substances.” Online pharmacies present a huge problem in Thailand, and they need to be stopped.
Speaking on behalf of Tilleke & Gibbins, Atthachai says, “We coordinate with the patent-holding company and if we can find the source of the counterfeits, we inform them and help provide appropriate measures to prevent and eradicate the problem.” He continues, saying “We will contact the FDA through our Intellectual Property Department and try to work out a solution.” In closing, he says, “If you suspect you have been given a counterfeit product, contact the FDA or our law firm. We will contact the company that makes the legitimate product to investigate the matter. We are working closely with the FDA, and if we can overcome this problem we can improve the quality of life in Thailand.”
The BigChilli is a lifestyle, business, and educational magazine based in Thailand. If you would like to read the full interview, please visit The BigChilli website.