Counterfeit Flu Drugs Sold By Online Gangs: What To Look Out For
The British IT security and data protection company Sophos has issued a report saying fake flu drugs are being sold online by criminal gangs looking to profit from mass H1N1 hysteria. The most popular counterfeit drugs sold online are anitvirals like Tamiflu and Relenza. The most prominent affiliate network selling fake swine flu drugs was Russian-based, with most of the clients based in the US, Canada, Germany, Britain and France. Some reports suggest 'pharmaceutical gangs' were earning as much as $100,000 a day. The names to look out for are Glavmed, Partnerka and Canadian Pharmacy.
Sophos alleges people's wish to stock on Tamiflu is driving the business, and can also lead to the leakage of personal data to be used in future online crimes. Most importantly, the use of counterfeit drugs might be dangerous for people's health.
Sophos's indepth look at how these underground web affiliates, which form networks called the Partnerka, profit from online Tamiflu sales was revealed today in a whitepaper entitled "The Partnerka – what is it, and why should you care?" [PDF]
Working inside an organised criminal network alongside the businesses running online pharmacies, the Partnerka generate traffic to those sites for an agreed share of the profit. Many of these pharmaceutical sites brand themselves as "Canadian Pharmacy" in order to appear as a more trusted website to unsuspecting internet users.
Although unwitting buyers do often receive some kind of drug as result of the transactional exchange, at best the drug doesn’t work and at worse it can pose serious health risks.