A large proportion of websites offering discounted prescription drugs, claiming to be based in Canada are not actually based in the country at all, according to new research commissioned by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Researchers at online risk monitoring and management solutions provider, Cyveillance, which carried out the study, said that of approximately 11,000 sites that were designed to appear as Canadian pharmacy sites, only 1,009 sites actually sold prescription products, and only 214 of these 1,009 had any data indicating they were registered in Canada.

In addition, the survey found that over half of the sites registered in the US and dispensing drugs were in fact registered to a single firm. These facts and other actionable data were forwarded to the FDA to support congressional testimony on this controversial issue.

The data certainly cast doubt on the legitimacy of the countless websites used by US citizens in a bid to cut the cost if their prescription medicines. The FDA has consistently argued that drug reimportation is a risk business, which is also open to counterfeiting. Nevertheless, a number of US states are currently endorsing or running drug importation schemes, and a bill proposed by North Dakota and Maine senators to permit drug re-importation has secured a hearing by US Congress [[27/01/05g]].